Getting festive on the cobbles and boosting immunity!

Brrrrrr!!! Winter has hit for sure right? Heating on, fire on, onesie on! We’re shooting Christmas at work now, all our sets have Christmas decorations up, so it feels really wintry for us here at Corrie. Around October time you really need to start thinking about boosting your immunity.

We all know that autumn/winter is prime time for coughs, colds, flu and other lurgy! I always try to eat for immune health and swear by a good quality pro-biotic, but here are some foods that you should really strive to include in your diet, especially over the winter:

Kale
Sprouts
Spinach
Rocket
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Leeks
Carrots
Mushrooms
Tomatoes
Onions
Garlic

All the above can be quick and easy to cook with, or when you’re really in a rush – why not make a big batch of soup the night before? Or smoothies in the morning? These ‘Super foods’ really can help safe guard you against a lot of the winter ailments. For a lot of people, their diet is so full of bad fats, sugar and refined carbohydrates with very little fruit and veg that it really does leave your immunity levels very low, leaving you vulnerable to infections, viruses and diseases. One of my favourite recipes to help fight colds and flu is Dale Pinnocks ‘Flu Fighting Soup’

This onepot wonder of a soup is an absolute powerhouse when it comes to dealing with colds and flu. Don’t be put off by the goji berries – these sweet treats were once hard to find, and cost the earth, but thankfully they can now be found cheaply in any supermarket.

THE FAMOUS FLU FIGHTER
Serves 4

1 red onion, finely chopped
1 green chilli, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
5cm piece fresh root ginger, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium sweet potatoes, diced, skins left on
1 punnet shiitake mushrooms, sliced
2 handfuls goji berries
Vegetable stock, to cover
Salt and black pepper

Put the onion, chilli, garlic and ginger in a large saucepan with the olive oil. Cook over a medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, until the onion softens.

Add the sweet potatoes and mushrooms to the pan along with the goji berries. Stir well, then add enough vegetable stock to cover all the ingredients. Simmer well for 10–15 minutes, until the potato is soft.

Season with salt and pepper. Carefully add the soup to a jug blender in batches, and blend into a smooth, vivid orange, spicy soup.

This week Paul explains the wide grip pull down. I’m terrible at this exercise, and certainly wont be doing this while pregnant! But I trained alongside Paul this week and he thought it would be a good one to share – boys, this is especially good for you if you’re trying to achieve that ‘V-Shape’!
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“The wide grip pull-up is a great exercise for Giving you the ‘V’ shape back. Considered by many to be the king of back exercises this isn’t an exercise for the beginner. If you’re first starting out and can’t do more than 2-4 reps. Then a really quick way to gain strength at this exercise is to jump up Into the chin up to the bar position and then as slow as possible, under control lower yourself until your feet reach either a step or the floor. Then repeat as many times as you can until failure, for 3-5 sets. When you’ve become more advanced, then try pulling up unassisted. With a grip just more than shoulder width apart, pull yourself up as high as you can while maintaining your hips and legs in a fixed position, no swing or assistance from the hips or legs, while creating an arch in your back by looking up over the top of the bar. Technique is imperative with this exercise for quick results.”

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As I said its all been very festive at work. We’re managing to hide bump behind the bar (little show stealer), God bless Jack P Shepherd who is working a lot with Paula and I at present. The poor man is surrounded by oestrogen, bumps, cravings and emotions. Corrie have such a fab Christmas lined up for you guys!! Lots of drama as always – and Jason and Eva being cuter than cute -bless. You’re gonna be hooked as ever! Eeeeek!

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Meeting amazing people at the Hale Country Club and my first taste of reflexology

I had the opportunity to meet a rather special group of children and adults at Hale Country Club. This group consisted of several children of various ages – each with their own story, be it terminal illness, disability or a bereavement – these kids had seriously been through the mill. There was also a rather special lady battling against her body and ovarian cancer. The group were enjoying a day out at the club – a posh lunch, a good swim, pamper treatments and a damn good giggle!

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A truly humbling experience… some of the children didn’t have long left…When asked if I’d like to meet the group, I selfishly wondered if I’d be able to face them without breaking down at hearing their stories.

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But I wanted to be a part of their day and hopefully make them giggle. There wasn’t a tinge of sadness throughout the time I spent with them. There was nothing but joy, laughter and positivity.

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Their parents and carers an inspiration in themselves – keeping everyone’s smiles afloat. These people had so many problems but intended to enjoy every single, special moment of life – it was a day I wont forget and I’d like to thank them all for sharing their strength and their stories. Thank you!

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGpGZl-KDeA

Bump and I have had a fairly quiet week work wise- which has given me the opportunity to pamper, nest and sleeeeep! I had my first taste of reflexology this week- I’m hoping it will help aid my digestive problems and IBS during pregnancy. When pregnant you’re very limited as to what you can take medication wise. If I’m honest I always prefer to try a homoeopathic approach first anyway. So my doctor suggest I give reflexology a go. I’ve only had one session so far – but I’ll keep you posted. Beverly my lovely reflexologist certainly picked up on a few things during the treatment. It was incredibly relaxing and so interesting! Each part of your body is mapped out in the feet, tensions and ailments can be detected through the foot and eased, sometimes even erased completely.

 

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Now! I promised you at treat! This week I managed to get an exclusive interview with the big man himself! Mr Nick Mitchell (@HeyNickMitchell) owner of UP Fitness gyms and all round health and fitness Guru. Like I’ve said before- Nick is top of his game. His knowledge is wonderful , his ethos and training techniques of the highest most qualified standard. A man that inspires thousands- including myself. So I’ve been picking his brains on behalf of you lot! Enjoy!!

So… Nick…

1.)What made you become a PT?

I have had a very varied career which I think ultimately was of massive benefit when I became a PT as I benefited from a much better understanding and empathy of people and circumstances than I would otherwise have had.

One day I woke up and realised that I hated my life working in the City of London. I needed to do something with my life that I felt passionate about. I’d spent pretty much all my spare time of the previous twenty years living in hard training, unflinchingly hardcore gyms and I thought it was time to take that ethos and environment into personal training to give “real people” the opportunity to finally take control of their bodies and move away from the BS that was most mainstream fitness advice at the time.

Things have massively improved for the general public since then. It would have been unheard of a few years ago to have had a TV star like yourself espouse weight training and eating red meat. Instead you’d have been full of granola and dull repetitive aerobic exercise that would do very little for either your body shape or your health. In fact with your tummy issues it would have made things worse!

2.)Tell us a little about UP (Ultimate Performance)

I like to think that we are the most consistently credible and high performing Personal Training business anywhere in the world. Certainly if we ever find someone doing something better than us it drives me mad and we change things up at UP so that we can keep on improving!

We currently have our own gyms in London (Mayfair and the City), Marbella, Hong Kong and Singapore. UP Glasgow is due to open in January 2015, we’ve been scouting Manchester as you know, and international expansion plans continue afoot.

3.)What do you consider to be the most important factors when wanting to lose fat and gain lean muscle mass?

As much as selling you a magic formula might be handy for my bank balance the truth is that it is all about consistently following the basics.

Regular, intelligent and hard training (you can’t just do the exercises you want to do, you must the ones you are supposed to do), eating “from the land” and avoiding processed junk / going too hungry and then binging, and sleep.

And let’s not forget a bit of patience!

4.)I have to ask Nick- top tips for pregnancy training/nutrition?

So long as you get the go ahead from a medical professional most women can, and should, keep up a regular exercise regime. I’d avoid pushing it to some crazy limit but there’s no need to wrap yourself in cotton wool whilst pregnant. The bottom line here is that the healthier you are and for example the better your insulin management to avoid the all too common issues of gestational diabetes, then the easier your pregnancy will be, the better the environment for foetal development, and the faster you will recover from the birth.

And what improves insulin management? A healthy, lower sugar diet, not being afraid to eat some fat (!), resistance training, and supplements such as fish oil.

On the subject of supplements, I would have all pregnant / breast feeding women take a high concentrate DHA fish oil, D3, carnitine and probiotics.

5.)You’re somewhat of a legend – every PT I’ve encountered looks up to you and aspires to be at your level. Where do you go from here?

Legend in my own living room sounds more accurate!

I want to help create real and tangible careers for the brilliant people who can often get lost in the Personal Training industry. There are some truly rubbish trainers out there who fleece clients money all just to be babysitters and rent a friends and count reps in a bored and desultory fashion. Anyone who has been inside a commercial gym will have seen them and shared my despair and wondered why on earth anyone would waste their hard earned money on that rubbish!

But on the flip side we also have a decent number of trainers who are truly brilliant people. They care about improving themselves and their clients and they do not get the credit that they deserve. I’d like to continue to grow UP so that we can keep on evolving interesting and rewarding career paths for these guys and girls who can often get lost in the world of gym floor rentals, over egged BS promises, and soul destroying “colleagues” who are only interested in clients’ pound notes and not their health and wellness.

6.)If someone is just starting out on a health and fitness journey what would be your advice to them?

Use common sense and try as hard as possible to not second guess yourself or read too many conflicting articles on the internet.

I’ve a lot of sympathy for people starting out these days as the confusion and noise has reached ridiculous levels. You can read advice from someone like me and then pick up a Tracy Anderson article and end up twisting yourself into knots of paralysis by analysis.

As a rule just try to cut through all the BS, my own included, and think if something makes sense then give it a try and if a bit of thought on the subject leaves you cold try a different approach. For example, the aforementioned Miss Anderson advises ladies to lift weights of under a couple of kg otherwise they “bulk up”.

This is utter cods wallop!! And if you stop and think about it for half a second you should realise why. How many women have handbags bigger than that and do they all of a sudden sprout muscles on the side of their body that carries this bulky and “manly” weight?! And lets not even think about those brave ladies who turn into Conan because they carry a heavy baby in their arms…

7.) finally – motto for life?

I believe that living a fulfilled life is the secret to contentment. That’s not the same as pursuing the line of least resistance and going for the easy and fun filled life. It means taking difficult decisions and for me at least doing everything that I can to live up to whatever potential I have been blessed with.

Bump LOVES to swim!!

I’ve been swimming quite a lot this week . As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs – swimming is a low impact sport, swimming offers us mum’s to be a great, safe way of exercising as the water partially supports weight, decreasing burden on spine and limbs.

Being pregnant can cause different weight-related problems, particularly when it comes to your joints and bones. The more pregnant you become, the more relaxin (a hormone secreted by the placenta and the lining of the uterus) your body releases. While this is of great benefit during child birth (she gulps), when you want your pelvis to move more freely, it can cause a variety of aches and pains during pregnancy (nobody tells you this!!!)

I find the water allows you to move around freely, feeling lighter and more limber while in water. In between maintaining my usual weight training with Paul – swimming is WONDERFUL during pregnancy. Its wonderful at any point!I’ll be introducing my little one to the water as soon as possible.

Right! That’s all for this week my little health cherubs!!

Stay Happy, Stay healthy and Dream BIG

Love

Auntie Cath

Xx

A Very Special Road Trip and a Posh ‘Chippy Tea’

My Granddad was my hero. The ‘Don’ of our family. As a child I used to call him ‘God’ or ‘The Giant’. The decision maker. The go-to guy . I lost my beautiful Grandfather last year to cancer. He beat cancer three times during his life time. He was incredible, Jim swam 60 lengths a day well into his 70′s ( I definetly get my water wings from him!). A wonderful singer, with tones of Nat King Cole and Billy Eckstine. He travelled the world, danced like no one was watching and was always last to leave a good party. Music made him tick. He’d sit at home listening to his favourite records- he had wonderful taste. And I loved looking through is records and sheet music. All the greats were in there! Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughan, Billy Eckstine, Ella Fitzgerald…

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Grandad – James Thornhill supported me through drama school , whenever I doubted my ability he’d tell me I was a star and that I would forfil my dreams.

He bought me my first PA system to enable me to sing and make money for myself In-between acting jobs. Which led to me singing at Old Trafford for Manchester United. Travelling to Rome with the first team and singing at the ground many times. This made Granddad so proud- his team!! He was even on the B team at United himself in his younger years! When Granddads cancer returned for the last time, he started chemo again determined to win against this stubborn disease once more.

He’d overcome so much in the past we thought he’d beat this vile disease again… A combination of things led to a quick deterioration in Granddad. Ever the charmer the nurses at Salford Royal fell in love with him- he was still a silver fox!

That Hollywood smile could get him anywhere. As a young man my granddad could easily have been mistaken for some film star or a model- so very handsome.

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James had a ‘bucket list’- on this list was too visit the legendary Jazz club “Ronnie Scott’s”. He never made it. He became too weak and we lost him. My ‘giant’ , the indestructible Jim Thornhill had fought his last fight. The last days I had with him will be held in my heart forever. When he whispered to me ‘I love you’ I knew he meant it with every single bone in his body. I am so grateful for those moments. A huge Salford Reds fan – I took him the match ball a few days before he died , signed by the players. He winked at me and said “that’s bloody brilliant, thanks Cath”.
I knew after he passed we needed to forfill his wish. We needed to visit ‘Ronnie Scott’s’ because I had no doubt what so ever that if we did- he’d be right there with us- tapping his foot and singing along.

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So that’s what we did! I arranged for Tom and I and my lovely family to stay at The Royal Horse Guards Hotel as a very special treat. Booked a table at ‘Ronnie’s’ for 6.30 – we were all set!! The hotel is stunning. Grandma was most impressed. Food was divine and every luxury met- this would have been right up our Jim’s Street! We took in the sights for a few hours before heading to Ronnie’s.
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I have been to ‘Ronnie Scott’s’ before- so I knew it wouldn’t disappoint- I was right. The London City Big Band were fantastic and the vocalists amazing. It was such a fitting evening to pay tribute to our ‘giant’. I hope he was there with us in some way. We love you Granddad!!

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One of my granddads favourite dishes was fish and chips, a Salford lad, born and raised – and a very healthy eater most of the time. One of his treats was a chippy tea! So this weeks recipe is a healthy version of one of the UK’s favourite comfort foods! Fish and Chips!!

Cod is pretty damn awesome and should be a regular feature in your diet. Not only is it a GREAT source of protein, but is also great to top up your omega 3, vitamin B6 and B12 (to name a few). It can also help prevent: heart disease, heart attack, stroke, high cholesterol and cancer!! Chow down! (just not on a chippy cod too often!)

Auntie Caths Posh Fish n Chips

• The Fish!

• *1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

• *1 1/2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

• *1 large garlic clove, peeled and minced

• *2 teaspoons minced shallots

• *1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

• *1 tablespoon almond flour

• *2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

• *Salt, to taste

• *Freshly ground pepper, to taste

• *2 tablespoons garlic olive oil

• *4 (7-ounce) skinless cod fillets

• *Garnish: lemon wedges

1. Stir together first 9 ingredients in a small bowl. Heat oil in oven proof skillet over medium-high heat. Season the cod with salt and pepper, and cook around 4 minutes. Turn fillets over; cook 1 minute. Spoon 1 tablespoon butter mixture over the top of each fillet then bob the skillet in the oven, and bake at 200 for 2 minutes or until fish is just cooked through. Serve with the wedges!

The Chips!

1. *Sweet potatoes (at least one per person) – chopped into chips

2. *Coconut oil. A couple of tablespoons or so. Enough to lightly and evenly coat the fries.

3. *Salt and pepper

4. * 3 Garlic gloves finely chopped

Mix all ingredients together, place on an oven tray, bake at 200 for 25-30 mins until chips are cooked, golden and gorgeous :-)

Serve with balsamic glaze and garlic mayo – LUSH!!

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Also this week, we said goodbye to Peter BarlowAka Chris Gascoigne :-( . So sad to say goodbye to such a great actor. you’re gonna LOVE what’s coming!! Goodbye Chris! Cant wait to see what you do next, we’ll miss you in Weatherfield!

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We also said goodbye to one of our favourite make-up girls Gilly-Bean. Good luck Gill – you’ve made us all look human on the very worst of days! God bless you and your kit!

Will be posting some more exercises for you next week! Along with another yummy recipe if you’re lucky!

Stay Happy, Stay Healthy and Dream BIG

Love Auntie Cath and Bump

xx

Brilliant berries and happy hair

A lovely week at work!

We have such fab storylines over autumn/winter (as always!) Thankyou for all your kind words about Kylie and Eva scenes and current storylines guys.

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I love working with Paula Lane – she’s fab! Plus – bump-bonding is always nice!

I had my first taste of Teppanyaki this week for my sister in-law to be’s birthday – Sarah. Who , by the way , is also pregnant with her first child (come on!! There must be something in the water??? Baby-boom or what?!).

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The food was fab – lots of fish, meat and veg available while we moaned about our back ache and foot-ache! The joys of being with-child eh?

I’ve been pretty tired this week due to lack of sleep. I’ve found a pregnancy pillow very helpful to rest on!

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I’m eating lots of asparagus- this helps battle water retention and also a small cup of water with a teaspoon of Himalayan pink salt in the evening seems to have helped too.

Non the less I’ve been listening to my body and getting plenty of rest! It can be frustrating when you’re a fidget like myself- but it’s so important to know when you need some comfy house-pants, a good book and a foot massage! (Thanks Tom!)

I’m trying to grow my hair at the moment – apparently when you’re pregnant your hair and nails get stronger and condition improves. With constant styling at work and swimmimg several times a week – my hair takes a beating – I spoke to my good friend and hair wizard @calumtierney this week about things I can do to help.

Here’s Calum’s top tips for healthy hair!

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1.Always use conditioner even if you have fine or thin hair: Conditioner makes your hair easier to comb through, so if you skip it because you think it weighs down your hair, you may ultimately be doing a bigger disservice to yourself. Combing through tangled hair, particularly if it’s dry because you don’t use conditioner, will damage hair even further. Just use a little on the ends and you shouldn’t have a problem with limpness Rec conditioner Caviar repair anti ageing conditioner and tangle teezer for combing !

2. Heat protection Spray Heat protectants are essential when using heated tools like hair dryers,flat irons and curling wands. Heat styling opens up the hair shaft leaving strands susceptible to damage and even color loss. Heat protectants coat the follicle, keeping strands sealed and shielded and even contain Uv protection rec product

3.Beautiful, healthy hair does not always come naturally for many people. Moroccan oil, often known as Argan oil, is a popular cosmetic treatment for Chemical damage, environmental influences, diet, and health are a few of the things that can affect hair quality and condition. No matter how long one’s hair is, its color, or its texture, the use of Moroccan oil controls frizz adds moisture & protein and flexibility for blowdrying !

There’ll be more tips soon! Stay tuned!

VERY Berry Good!

Most of us know that berries are PACKED with antioxidants, especially blueberries – I eat blueberries everyday – they truly are a miracle food! If you’re going to eat fruit – berries are your best option – why not whizz these little beauties up into a smoothie with an avocado and some coconut water? Great snack anytime of the day!

Beltin’Blueberries!
Studies suggest that blueberries may reduce memory decline, may reduce heart attack risk, and may provide other anti-aging benefits. They are also an excellent source of vitamins C and K, manganese and a good source of dietary fiber.

Smashin Strawberries
Helps burn stored fat, Boost short term memory High in Fiber, Ease Inflammation, Good for weight loss and Promote eye health!


Brilliant Blackberries

Help to prevent cancer, aid digestion, help relieve PMS (get munching these ladies!), great for hair and skin.

This week my lovely other half took one of Paul’s sessions for me while Paul was at an appointment. Here’s one the exercises we did at the start of the session!

@TP_PTFitness

Squat to Row

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Step 1: Hook a rope or V- handle up to the cable machine and place the handle at a notch about waist height.
Step 2: Grab the handle with both hands and pull it out so that the cable is taught.
Step 3: With your arms extended bend at the knees and squat down till your knees make a 90 degree angles.
Step 4: As you stand back up pull the v-bar handle to your chest and pinch your shoulder blades together.
Step 5: Squat back down and extend your arms back out as you do. This completes one repetition.

Muscles activated.

• Glutes
• Quadriceps
• Upper Back
• Shoulders

This exercise is fine during pregnancy- just increase rest time and know your limits! “

Step-Up to The Energy Bombs!

31 This week?! How did this happen?! I cant believe the difference a year makes! Having a fab time at work at the moment – we’ll be filming Christmas soon!! How scary is that?! Brook Vincent and I share a dressing room – and have been helping each other with lines in between little naps :-) (Bump LOVES  a nap!)

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To celebrate my birthday Tom and I went to one of our favourite restaurants ‘Australasia’ with our best friends Peter and Antony (Aka Sean Tully). Compared to last year HUGE 30th Birthday Bash this was very low key – perfect for me and bump. I had Blackened cod, satay spinach, Miso aubergine  and chicken skewers – Gorgeous!

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My little cousin Isabelle had her birthday this week too and the family got together for a little garden party. We sang songs from ‘Frozen’ and ate cake – great day all round. The girls insisted on singing ‘Frozen’ and other Disney tunes directly to my bump – if this baby isn’t born a Disney Addict, I’ll be so surprised!

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Tom has been away in Marbella – he’s not been partying though – he’s been studying! At UP Fitness, under the amazing Charles Poliquin. He’s now a fully qualified BioPrint Practicioner. Well done Tom! Meanwhile I have been ‘nesting’ getting the nursery ready for our arrival! Work on our home gym starts on Monday too! Cant wait! Its all systems go before our little one arrives!

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@Paul_Boys and I have a had a great week training – we’ve managed to get three sessions in this week. I never get bored of sessions with Paul as our program is constantly changing – sign of a good personal trainer! Your body tends to adapt to a training program after a few weeks – so its best to change it every 6 weeks. To constantly develop and challenge your body. Here’s one of Paul’s faves – which is also safe during pregnancy!

 

Step Ups

 

The single leg step up is a great exercise to get your heart rate up. It’s simple, to perform and not so technical so you can really focus on just working hard and setting your ass and legs on fire and feeling the burn! Simply make sure the step is sturdy, about knee high and then place one foot on the bench, fully. Not just the toes, then stand with all your weight going through the foot on the bench and stand tall raising the knee, lower yourself under control and repeat for as many repetitions as possible until you feel like your leg may fall off. Then switch legs and repeat, that’s one set complete. Aim for more than 15 reps every time. 3-5 sets should finish you off nicely.

 

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When you’re as active as I am with a busy lifestyle, sometimes we need a little kick- you shouldn’t over do coffee when pregnant – your intake becomes limited. And energy drinks are FULL of rubbish!! AVOID! Pregnant or not.  So medicinal chef @Dale_Pinnock has given me a lovely little recipe for when I’m flagging a little!

 

Dale’s Energy Bombs!

 

250g Pitted dates

250g raw walnuts

3 teaspoons spirulina powder

desiccated coconut

 

Put the dates, walnuts and spirulina into a food processor, and process at full speed until a stiff paste forms.

 

Sprinkle the desiccated coconut on a plate and have another clean plate handy. Processing the ingredients at a high speed will have squeezed the oil from the walnuts, so the paste will be very oily. Break off thumb sized pieces of the paste, roll them into balls, then roll in the desiccated coconut. Place the coated balls on a clean plate.

 

Once all the paste has been rolled into balls, place in the fridge for several hours, which will make them firmer and give them a great chewy texture. Great when you’re on the go and need a boost!

 

Until Next Time my Little Health Bunnies!

 

Stay Happy, Stay Healthy and Dream BIG

 

Love Auntie Cath

xx

TV Awards, pregnancy fitness and Manchester football award!

Blog time! Bump and I have had a very busy week, with bump enjoying his/her first TV Awards! Monday night saw Coronation Street scoop ‘Best Storyline’ at the TV Choice Awards. The award-winning storyline was, of course, that of ‘Hayley’s Cancer’. One of the best storylines Corrie have ever done in my opinion. So wonderfully acted out by the uber-talented Julie Hesmondhalgh and David Neilson, who play two of my all-time fave Corrie characters: the adorable Roy and Hayley. We had such a gorgeous evening, it’s so nice when we all come together like that. It was especially nice to see Julie and Michelle Keegan – we miss them both so very much here in Weatherfield – gone but never forgotten!

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Also a big well done to all the other winners. Here’s me in my gorgeous red dress (and bump!):

 

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And me with beautiful Brooke:

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This week a very famous TV Show made a huge comeback:’Celebrity Squares’ hosted by the fantastic Warwick Davis! ITV have stayed true to the show’s original format, inviting some fab guests to join the panel and throwing a bit of glitter in on top! It certainly works! The show is very funny and each guest brings different humour to the table. We had a blast filming this, so if you get the chance to watch it, it’s on ITV1 every Wednesday at 8pm – be there or…be square (sorry!).

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I’ve managed to get a few sessions in with @paul_boys this week, due to a slower schedule at work for a few days. He’s been coming up with lots of varied routines for me and Bump. There are SO many perks to keeping fit while pregnant! If your body is used to training there is NO reason why you shouldn’t continue during pregnancy. Here are some of the positives, to name but a few:

* Boosts your energy
* Helps you to sleep better
* Reduces pregnancy discomfort
* Helps you prepare for childbirth
* Reduces stress and lifts your spirits
* Improves your self-image
* Gets your body back faster after childbirth

There’s so much pressure on mums these days to snap back into shape after giving birth – this isn’t helped by celebs (who are going to such unhealthy extremes to ‘get their body back’) posting post-birth skinny selfies! Your baby is the priority. However, if you can remain fit and healthy, before, during and after – it’s so much better for you both. So many women see pregnancy as a chance to eat what they want and do very little – this isn’t going to help you – in ANY way. It is indeed important to rest – but eating well and keeping active is optimal for mum and baby. Even if you’re just walking for 30 minutes each day – it all helps!

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Here’s a great exercise from Paul (one of my faves):

The Kettlebell Squat!

The Kettlebell squat is a great exercise to not only raise your heart rate, with it being a high compound movement, but is also amazing at working the core hard which will improve strength in the abs, hips and lower back. Having the kettlebell between the legs allows you to get a good, wide stance without having to stack a barbell on your neck, making this a more comfortable variation of the weighted squat. So, if you want a great exercise to hit your legs, stomach and ass…look no further. Place your feet no more than a shoulder width apart. Point your toes out and make sure when squatting with a neutral spine that the knees stay in line with the direction of the toes. Squat as deep as possible while maintaining a good posture and repeat until technique failure or your legs set on fire from the burn. Repeat 3 times; this should be a high tempo, high repetition exercise with it being a relatively light weight.

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Now then! Manchester NEEDS YOU!!! The title ‘City of Football’ will be awarded by Sport England, with the winner receiving £1.6m in National Lottery funding to run a two-year pilot programme aimed at getting more people – particularly those aged 14-25 years – playing all forms of the game.

Manchester is now vying against Nottingham and Portsmouth for the title, after a shortlist was drawn up from the 22 cities who originally applied.

The final of the bids is today – Friday!

Please can you tweet the following in support guys:

‘⚽️ I support Manchester for city of football follow @Manchester_COF #backourbid’ #manchester ⚽️

Until next week,

Dream big!!

Auntie Cath xx

Proposals, Birthdays and Bath Bombs!!

Wowweeeee!! What a crazy couple of weeks! We announced our pregnancy and now we’re engaged!!! Venice now holds such special memories for us. I’m the happiest lady in the land right now!

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Click here to see my video from St Mark’s Square, Venice.

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Click here for another of my videos from my stay in Venice.

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Lots of celebrations this month, as well as my birthday – This week saw Tom turn 28 (we’re both Virgos!) so HAPPY BIRTHDAY husband-to-be! We went for a slap-up beautiful breakfast at one of my favourite places Slattery’s, famous for their cakes and chocolate – Tom was in heaven. I couldn’t help having a little nosey at their stunning wedding cakes :-) . This was followed by a chilled afternoon watching films and then a beautiful evening meal at one of our favourite restaurants Austalasia . We love it there not just because the food is exquisite but you can also eat really clean food. Paleo is very easy there and it’s such a fab menu.

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We also took my little cousins to Ramsbottom Soap Company at Purple Tiger this week. They have such a cool concept- a bathbomb-making workshop! After my research into using natural/organic cosmetics/soaps etc, it was a really interesting workshop to do. I learnt a lot. Using ingredients that I usually see in my kitchen cupboard is reassuring, and with added essential oils and flowers the outcome was gorgeous! I have had trouble sleeping recently (due to the fact I need a tinkle at least 5 times a night..perks of pregnancy eh?!) So I chose essential oils that help you relax for my bath bombs. The kids had a ball and it’s really inspired me to go back and create some more products.

After feeling pretty sick for the first ten weeks of my pregnancy, I’m feeling much better now. It’s SO important to make sure you’re getting the right nutrients from Day One. You are the soil for this baby. Whatever YOU eat, the baby eats. You wouldn’t pour pesticides on a new batch of vegetables in your garden right?? Now I’m only human, and there’s no denying that when a craving kicks in they’re hard to ignore, but keeping topped up on protein, good fats and plenty of veg really helps curb those naughtier cravings. As you’re getting such well-rounded nutrition – your body is less likely to crave things. Too much sugar in pregnancy is dangerous – I’ve no need to tell you how much I’m against processed foods – to me it’s a no brainer – pregnant or not – they cause numerous diseases including cancer, depression and diabetes.

So now, more than ever, it’s important to eat right! I’m going to be posting some quick snack recipes for all you yummy mummies-to-be out there that you can pop in your handbag for when hunger strikes! First one this week is chilli broccoli! Gorgeous hot or cold, mixed with cashew nuts is a great source of protein and good fats whilst also alkalising your body, boosting you and baby with antioxidants, helping to lower cholesterol and giving you that much needed fibre boost you’ll be needing due to the slowing down of your digestion process.

Auntie Cath’s Hot To Trot Broccoli!

Ingredients:

1 small head broccoli, cut into florets

½ red chilli chopped

1 garlic clove, chopped

handful of cashew nuts

2 tbsp coconut

salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method:

Place the broccoli florets into a pan of boiling salted water and boil for four minutes. Drain well.

Heat the coconut oil in a wok, add the chilli, cashew nuts and garlic and stir fry for one minute.

Add the broccoli and stir.

Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper! Boom! Job done!

Gorgeous served with fish as your evening meal or pop into some tupperware and take it on your travels – quick, easy and uber healthy for you and your growing bump!

Venetian Glory and Bump

So it’s finally out! Possibly the longest 12 weeks of my life!!! I’m going to be a mummy :-) Lots of people asking if my bump is real?! (How weird?!)

When you have a small waist and flat tummy before pregnancy you often show sooner.

I’ve also been suffering from really bad water retention. So to those of you suggesting there’s a pillow up there (for the love of God…) No. It’s my bump!

Thank you to everyone who has tweeted myself and Tom and wished us well. We are both over the moon :-))))

We decided to take a break this week and we had a lovely few days in Venice :-) . I’ve never been before, Patti Clare at work gave me a list of ‘Things To Do In Venice’. Well that beautiful City truly lived up to all I thought it would. Such a romantic place. Basically everywhere looks like a film set. By the time the sun sets on San Marco Sq- you’re pretty breathless thanks to the view (and the copious amounts of pizza and gelato of course!)

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We did lots of walking – the best way to see Venice we found was to simply ‘Get Lost’- and we did! Several times! But by doing this we stumbled on the most exquisite churches, bars and restaurants. The best food there was often served in little back street tavernas rather than the larger riviera eateries.

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We found Venice a little expensive and it’s definitely the kind of place you’d visit for a short break, anything longer you could find it overwhelming- I must admit, the crowds in San Marco Sq were pretty intense. We often retreated to the haven of the roof top pool at our hotel (when the sun graced us). But it’s a must do place to visit- it really is stunning. Back to reality now – its always good to be home :-)

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I’m still going to be training throughout my pregnancy. It’s so important to stay active. If your body was used to keeping fit before you conceived there’s no reason why you shouldn’t maintain this during. The fitter you are the better! Just make sure you have a PT that knows your limits. If you dont have a PT – get one!!! There are certain things you need to avoid during pregnancy. It’s also important to listen to your body. If it’s not up to working out- then rest!! I’m very fortunate that @paul_boys specializes in pre and post natal fitness so he’s been really looking after me. Me and Bump are very grateful!! I’ll also be doing pregnancy Yoga and I’m still doing plenty of swimming! Which is fantastic -especially as you enter your later trimester.

Last week I gave you a recipe for a paleo/gluten free pizza, this week I’ve asked too chef @dale_pinnock to treat us to another Italian treat this week – its delicious!!!

Raw courgette pasta with pesto

This dish makes a great main course or delicious side.

1 large courgette
2 tablespoons of pine nuts
15g of fresh basil leaves
Half a clove of garlic – finely chopped
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 teaspoons of grated parmesan

Using a vegetable peeler, slice the courgette lengthways to create long thin strips that look like tagliatelle.

Place the pine nuts, basil, garlic, and parmesan into a food processor, along with a pinch of sea salt, and process to form a coarse pesto. Only blend it lightly so that the pesto has some texture.

Add the pesto to the courgette, and toss well before serving.

Yum for my growing tum :-)

Until next week!

Stay Happy, stay healthy and DREAM BIG!

Love Auntie Cath and Bump

x

My week off the Corrie set!

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They let me out this week! ITV that is! Paula Lane and I have been on location in Wythenshaw! We’ve been filming in a pub there. Some fab scenes coming up for Kylie and Eva – I hope you guys enjoy them. We treated ourselves to a few rounds of pool (Paula thrashed me, and chuckled when I asked “Can I use the other end of the stick? Its so much easier”), and a cheat meal of true Mancunian Fish and chips in our trailer :-). We had a fab time. There’s some great new cast members recently who have joined our Corrie Family too – be VERY excited. They’re pretty awesome!

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My trainer and I Paul have been grafting as much as possible inbetween such a hectic schedule. He’s got some very exciting projects on the go himself – will keep you guys posted. I jumped in on one of Paul’s sessions and decided to train WITH him this week. HUGE mistake – I’m sure he’s secretly in training for ‘Gladiator 2′ . Here is one of his faves ( I can’t say it’s one of mine but it certainly does the job!).

Over Head Press

“The over head press is performed by having your feet shoulder width apart, engaging your core, placing your hands approximately shoulder width apart and press above your head fully extending at the elbows as fast as you can, then lowering under control brining the bar I to the collar bone. This is a great high compound movement for not only burning body fat but raising your heart rate with your heart having to pump blood against gravity (above the heart) giving your heart a great workout also. A great exercise to raise metabolism and heart rate in a very short time. This exercise is one hat everyone can benefit from, just make sure you for lift to heavy and compromise your technique.” . Paul Boys

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Earlier this week I asked you lucky lot if you had any questions you’d like me to try and answer. If I don’t know the answer I will always consult an expert here’s some of your questions answered! Hope you guys find this helpful:

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Medicinal Chef Dale Pinnock – @Dale_Pinnock:

“Gaining weight safely is not always easy, especially with me not knowing your history. Bear in mind that it may well be in your genetics to be at a certain size, and you will always be fighting against those genes to a point. But, to maximise your bets I would say you need to look at 3 areas. Firstly, don’t gorge on bowls of pasta or refined carbs as you will just make yourself sick. Focus on getting in more good quality sources of fat. Im not on about packs of lard or junk, I mean foods like avocados, nuts, seeds, and quality dairy like goats cheese, and blue cheese. The next thing is to make sure that you get in as much good quality protein as possible. Fish, chicken, high quality red meats are all preferable. The final part of the picture is a good quality resistance exercise plan, where you can build lean body mass. ”

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Fitness Expert Paul Boys (@Paul_Boys) :

“The plank is a safe exercise for both pregnancy and post pregnancy. Its perfect for working those core muscles. Progress from this onto straight leg raises”

I have had a lot of tweets about my Paleo Pizza recipe :-) So here it is you lucky lot! Be sure to send me pictures of your masterpieces!

Perfect Paleo Pizza!

1 Tsp salt

2 Cups Almond Flour

2 Eggs

2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Mix all the ingredients together to form a dough. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil two pieces of parchment paper. Put the dough between the two pieces of parchment paper and roll it until desired thickness. Move the pizza and bottom piece of parchment paper to a pizza tray. Bake for 10-15 minutes (until middle is cooked). Take out of the oven. Put all of your desired pizza topping on it ( I use tomato and basil base coat – Lactose free cheese and goats cheese, with chicken and veg). Put the pizza back in the oven for about 15 minutes – until the veggies are cooked and the cheese is bubbling. Witness The fitness!!

We’ve been looking after my other half’s new little brother this week…I say ‘brother’…its actually a spaniel called ‘Louis’ – he’s the cutest little thing!! But by heck that dog can bark for England. He wasn’t impressed with sleeping downstairs so Tom ended up on the sofa with him at 3am. Its a good job he’s cute or else he’d have been sent straight home! I’ve still not caught up on my sleep! Off for a ‘bo-boes’ as we speak Night!

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Stay happy, stay healthy and DREAM BIG!

Auntie Cath xx

My beef with juicing

Juicing. It’s had a LOT of press recently. With lots of different brands offering juices for detoxing, skin, weight loss… The list is endless. Many of these brands came as a shock to me when I actually read the label.

Tom and I

Tom and I

So many of them were utterly packed with sugar. Either that or there was the bare minimum of each ingredient advertised on the front, actually in the bottle. Juicing seems to be a bit of a craze at the moment. One that I disagree with. Strongly. With some celebrities seeing it as a ‘quick fix’ to weight loss. They appear to be juicing most of the time in replacement of food.

I’m not saying that all juicing is bad for you – I myself make several ‘Greens Drinks’ each week to help me get my intake of green vegetables, which is indeed cleansing, detoxifying, packed with nutrients and fibre. When you make it yourself you know exact what’s gone in there too!

For example I know when I make a juice there’s a good half a bag if spinach in there as opposed to a few leaves. What I do disagree with is using juicing as a long term solution to weight loss. For a start the body cannot survive without protein. Eventually the body will start to break down and gaining lean muscle mass will become impossible. In essence you’re quite simply ‘wasting away’.

If the juices you’re consuming are high in sugar you’ll also have terrible insulin resistance and it will absolutely have a massive effect of skin, hair, nails and energy levels. My fear with faddy diets is celebrity endorsement. I feel that when in the public eye we have some sort of responsibility.

Detoxing is great when done responsibly and I’m all for alkalising as it’s quite clear after extensive research that it’s optimal for our health, but when celebs do interviews and starts saying things like “I just juice now and eat at weekends” or “I’ve gained 3lbs I’m juicing for the next month” (yes this does happen! A lot!), It’s giving their fans a really poor view of good nutrition.

Young girls are so highly influenced by their celebrity idols – if their favourite star loses weight by barely eating, they’ll try it too. Like I said – irresponsible. And what a miserable existence!! Life is too short guys!! A good rounded diet includes lots of protein, good carbs, good fats and veg combined with exercise is the healthiest way forward, you’ll live longer, look younger and have more energy too! In my eyes it’s a no brainer.

If you’re going to detox do it properly! And don’t juice as a long term solution to weight management – it is NOT sustainable and not healthy!

Wedding in Newark

Wedding in Newark

In other news Tom and I had a lovely weekend in Newark at his cousins wedding. The weather was glorious, good food and merriment was had by all and I managed not to dance like my dad in front of his family! Winner! Congratulations Chris and Nicola and thank you for having us!!

Friend's dog Dexter

Friend’s dog Dexter

We’ve had Dexter my friend’s dog all week, so we’ve been on lots of nice long power walks with him after work too. Which really helps me to switch off after a long day on set.

A healthy egg dish

A healthy egg dish

I’ve been so very busy at work, dinner times this week have been quick fix solutions! Got loads up my sleeve for you guys. I know how much we all rush about – work, kids, social life… work! But we can still get a nutrient-dense meal FAST! Here’s one of my faves! It’s light, it’s paleo and it’s bloody scrumptious!

It can also be eaten cold for breakfast with some smoked salmon! Lush!

Egg on Your Face!!

3 whole eggs
3 egg whites
Half a cup of milk
Good quality goats cheese (small cup) or Feta cheese
Garlic infused olive oil
Tsp of lazy garlic
1 Aubergine thinly sliced
Two Tomatoes roughly chopped
3 Spring onions chopped
Two small leeks chopped
Two handfuls of spinach
Fresh coriander
Salt and pepper to taste

Place the Aubergine slices on a baking tray and drizzle with Garlic oil. Bake at 180 for 10-12 mins until golden brown. In a medium frying pan add a little oil and stir fry onions, leeks, tomatoes and garlic until leeks are almost cooked- then add the spinach to wilt. Add the sliced Aubergine- spread out evenly, Meanwhile whisk eggs, egg whites and milk.

Pour the egg mixture evenly over the vegetables and cook on a low heat for a further 5 mins. Sprinkle the goats cheese and coriander on top then place under a medium grill until golden and the egg mix is cooked through! Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with salad! Yum!

Dream Big
love

Auntie Cath x

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