July, 2014

18 July
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In celebration and remembrance of my little legend Gran-Gran Lily

On Sunday it was the anniversary of my gran-grans (great grandmother) death. We lost her last year at the grand old age of 100! At four foot nothing She was the head of the family ‘The Godmother’ as it were.

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You didn’t mess with Gran-Gran Lily. One of 14 children, she was an inspiration to our whole family. Losing her left quite the hole in our hearts. So we came together to celebrate Lil’s life. Our family is built on strong women and six of us attended a lovely afternoon tea at the Doubletree Hotel by Manchester Piccadilly train station, in celebration and remembrance of this little legend.

The afternoon tea was gorgeous! We’re a very close family , so days like this mean a lot to us. I’m pretty sure Gran was there in some form!

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She’d hate to miss out on cake. Thrilled to bits to find a hotel that actually provided gluten and lactose free afternoon tea too!

Most places just look at you like you’ve lost the plot!

I was certainly entitled to a treat this week to as Paul and I have been training very hard as always . Unfortunately this week I’ve pushed myself a little too far and I’ve hurt my shoulder by getting a slight tear in my rotator cuff :-( so unfortunately I won’t be taking part in this Saturdays ‘Great Swim’ .

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I’m absolutely gutted as I’ve been training so hard . However Ill still be there to start the race and cheer my lovely boyfriend on @TP_PTfitness – - who will still be swimming for Manchester Children’s Hospital.

Thankyou for all of your kind donations!! You can still donate by clicking here:

http://ow.ly/xY5DW

Every penny helps the children receive the care they need- Thankyou for your support!

This week we’ve been on the BBQ again and come up trumps with a cheeky chicken marinade and chili sweet potato fries :-)

Auntie Cath’s Spicy Chuck and Fries

For The Chicken:

4 chicken breasts or thighs

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 lime, juice only

1 heaped tsp paprika

1 tsp ground cumin

pinch cayenne pepperr

1 tsp tumeric

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 tbsp coconut oil, for griddling

For the spicy ‘chuck-chuck’ (chicken), mix all of the ingredients , apart from the coconut oil, together in a non-metallic bowl and mix to ensure the chicken is completely coated in the other ingredients. Transfer to the fridge to marinade for at least three hours or overnight.When ready to cook the chicken, heat a griddle pan until hot, then remove the chicken from the marinade and rub all over with the coconut oil. Place on the griddle and cook for about 15 minutes for breast, 20 minutes for thighs, turning once or twice, or until cooked through (juices should run clear with no trace of blood when the thickest part of the chicken is pierced with a skewer).

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For the fries…

350g/12oz sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chips

2 tbsp Coconut oil

½ tsp Himilayan Pink salt

1 tsp crushed dried chilli flakes

freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Place the sweet potato chips into a roasting tin and drizzle over the coconut oill and season with the salt, crushed dried chilli flakes and freshly ground black pepper. Toss well to coat, then roast in the oven for 20-30 minutes, or until the sweet potato chips are crisp and golden-brown. Serve with a cool salsa and guacamole to cool you down!

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Congrats to my lovely friend and Coronation street script writer Jonathan Harvey – his new book is released today ‘The Girl Who Just Appeared’ – if his other books are anything to go by- this will be absolutely brilliant! I think it’ll be the talk of our green room for the next few weeks as we all delve into the fantastical treats of Mr Harvey’s comical brain.

Menelik Watson played a visit to the street this week (plays for the Oakland Raiders the National Football League (NFL) – turns out this giant man is originally from Burnage and adores corrie! So Bev Callard and I had the chance to meet him and show him around the new set. He loved every second!

Earlier this week I attended the Buddhist centre . It’s a great place for meditation, reflection and mindfulness. They offer several workshops to help you focus on meditation and tackle everyday problems. I struggled to switch off this time around but I’ll be going back very soon and will keep you updated with any tips and Revellations! It’s not religiously based at all- it simply promotes wellbeing and mindfulness. Which I’ll be talking about more next week.

Before I bid you farewell a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my really mean personal trainer @paul_boys!!! Maybe he’ll go easy on me now? Mellow with old age??? Nahhhh! I think not! Happy Birthday dude! Thanks for keeping us healthy and hench!

Stay Happy, stay healthy and Dream Big!!

Love

Auntie Cath

Xx

11 July
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Celebrating Christmas in July!

What a lovely little week I’ve had. Best part being a trip to London with my gorgeous Mum – Janet. I’d been asked to film a Christmas episode (yes you heard that right) of Gino and Mel. One of my favourite shows! I love Gino, I love Mel and I Love cooking – so this show was a no brainier!

Gino and Mum

Gino and Mum

I was interested to see what Italian chef (= obsessed with bread and pasta) Gino would come up with for me as I’m wheat intolerant. Let me tell you – he pulled it out of the bag and then some!

Wow! The recipes were absolutely stunning! And very Paleo! I’ll tweet and let you know when my episode is on so you can try these recipes. Now my little mum LOVES Gino! Most ladies do right?

Gino and Mel

Gino and Mel

What’s not to love? Lovely guy, Italian accent and he does amazing things with naughty carbs? So taking my mum was also a no brainer! We enjoyed a lovely afternoon tea at the Corinthia Hotel the night before and had some real girly time – which was so precious.

Time with my family always is. I’m big on family – and I’ve been blessed with the best!

The next morning we were picked up and taken to the studios, Janet was like a small child at Christmas!

We were strangely gifted with mince pies and a Christmas cake – that was enough for my mum to sing ITV’s praises all the way home!

Then her moment arrived! I arrived on set and chatted with Gino and Mel while mum sat anxiously in the audience. First thing Gino asked me “Where is your mother?” I pointed her out and he skipped over and planted those lovely dual European kisses on her cheeks.

She might not wash them again …and I feel I have secured my place as ‘Favourite Daughter 2014′.

Just call me Daughter of the Year!

Just call me Daughter of the Year!

The show was such great fun, we laughed throughout and Both Gino and Mel were super lovely. So keep your eyes peeled for that one guys!

After my holiday I’ve been trying to Alkalize my body as much as possible with lots of greens drinks and green soups.

I’ve come up with an uber quick soup for you guys, That helps to alkalize, detox and cleanse whilst tasting pretty damn good too!!

Auntie Cath’s ‘Cram-a-Green Soup’

Ingredients:

2 Large leeks, finely chopped
1 White onion, finely chopped
3 Celery sticks
3 Garlic cloves finely chopped
2 Cups of Broccoli
3 Cups of Kale (approx half a bag)
3 Cups of spinach (one bag)
2 Courgettes roughly chopped
1 Aubergine, thinly sliced
1 small tsp Himalayan Pink Salt
1 tsp of grass fed organic butter
1 veg stock cube (organic)
2 Pints of hot water

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Lightly fry the leeks, celery, onion and Garlic in the butter until golden brown, meanwhile roast the courgette and aubergine in the oven for approx 25 mins until cooked. Add the broccoli and Kale to the onions, celery and leeks and sauté for 5-8 mins stirring often.

Add the stock cube to the hot water and stir until dissolved. Pour onto the sautéed veg and allow to simmer on a low light.

Add the roasted courgette and aubergine and finally the spinach. Bring to the boil then blend the whole mixture either with a food processor or a hand held food blender until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste, enjoy! Boom- Easy!

All about posture

All about posture

One of the things they instilled in us at drama school is posture. When I’m tired I become quite round shouldered and slumped – one of the exercises I do with Paul to combat this as well as targeting several muscle groups is the ‘Seated Row’.

The seated row is a great exercise for not only targeting your upper back muscles, biceps and forearms strength, it’s great for activating all the muscles that indeed – help hold a great posture and stop you slouching.
So if your shoulders roll forward making you look like you slouch, try this to correct a bad posture.

Drive your elbows as far back as you can without cocking the wrists, keeping the chest held high and be conscious of trying to pull your shoulder blades together.

Good posture also make you look slimmer (gives you Perkier breasts to ladies!).

Chow For Now Heath bunnies,
Stay happy and dream big!
Auntie Cath xxx

04 July
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Stay Calm and Tap!

First week back at the gym this week, ‘Post Holiday’… it hit me like a brick wall, I’m not gonna lie. @Paul_Boys is like a priest…I can’t lie to him! When I told him about the naughtiness had on my ‘Big Fat Greek Holiday’, I could see his evil mind working, to see what torture he could put me through after all that feta! So it’s fair to say I’ve been knackered and walking funny all week!

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One of Mr Boys’ favourite ‘core exercises’ is what I call the ‘Olympic Bar Twist’ . Trust me… You’ll feel this ALL over your upper body!

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Olympic Bar Twist

You place 2 feet firmly on the ground, approximately shoulder width apart. Then keeping your arms extended away from the body, begin to twist the bar from side to side with the opposite foot of the side you twist on, pivot on the toes. Make sure your hips follow the bar when you twist. It’s important to keep the arms extended to keep the tension in the core. Do this under a slow tempo to really hit the core muscles hard. This is a great exercise for targeting all the muscles in the midsection (core).

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Last week I told you about my friend Tania-Louise, an incredibly talented lady. I have been working with her recently in terms of relaxation/meditation and EFT. Life on the cobbles is so very busy, it really is important to look after one’s body, mind and spirit. When I make the time in my day (even if it’s only 10 minutes) to meditate or use EFT – I instantly feel calmer and more focused. Here’s what Tania had to say about EFT:

“EFT with Tania Louise – www.tanialouise.com

EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) is a fantastically effective therapy that helps to resolve a wide range of imbalances including stress and illness, quickly and easily. EFT is based on the ancient principles of acupuncture without the discomfort of needles and is one of the most effective energy psychology techniques, with the medical profession even starting to take notice of its effectiveness.

It really is interesting and proven to work. I was sceptical at first but it’s definitely had a positive effect on my busy lifestyle and training.

This simple tapping procedure gently realigns the body’s energy system and helps to address issues such as stress, phobias, pain, anxiety, depression, grief, public speaking, agoraphobia, abuse, trauma, fertility, weight, eating disorders, sports performance, anger management, fear of flying/heights, and addictions. A Freedom from Smoking Package is also available to help clear associations with smoking and re-programme positive new ways of being. EFT has shown impressive results on both emotional and physical problems; it is one of the fastest techniques available and often works when nothing else will.”

Whilst we’re on the subject of de-stressing and relaxation, here’s a fabulous recipe from medicinal chef Dale Pinnock (@dale_pinnock). Food to keep you calm! Dale explains…

“This recipe really brings together the best in nutritional tools for helping us feel a little calmer, in terms of both the nutrients it supplies, and the way in which the meal is composed.”

 

Sesame soy salmon with garlic greens and coconut rice
1 large salmon steak

2 large handfuls of shredded greens (kale, cabbage etc)

1 clove of garlic

2 tablespoon of low salt soy sauce

1 teaspoon of sesame oil

1 teaspoon of honey

2 handfuls of brown rice

1 400ml can of coconut milk

2 tablespoons of desiccated coconut

 

Mix together 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, with the sesame oil and the honey, and mix well to create a marinade.

 

Marinade the salmon in this mixture for as long as possible (overnight is best, but 1 hour will do).

 

Place the rice in a pan, along with the coconut milk and simmer. Once the coconut milk has begun to reduce, add enough boiled water to cover the rice and continue to simmer until it is cooked throughout, adding more water if necessary. You need enough so it cooks without the need to strain, as you need the coconut flavour to remain, so it should almost cook dry. At this point add the desiccated coconut.

 

Add the garlic, onion, and greens to a pan, and sauté until the vegetables soften. Add a tablespoon of soy sauce, and sauté for another minute.

 

Add the salmon and its marinade to a pan, on a medium heat, and pan cook for about 10-12 minutes, turning every couple of minutes to avoid blackening.

 

Once the salmon is cooked, warm through the cooked vegetables, and serve.

 

 

So, what makes this dish so special?

 

Salmon - great source of Omega 3. Regular intake of this fatty acid has been shown to improve mood, concentration, and alertness.

 

Greens - a very rich source of the mineral magnesium.  This mineral aids in muscular relaxation, so when you are feeling a little tense, it can help you to feel more physically relaxed, which in turn can help you feel more relaxed overall.

 

Brown rice - rich in B vitamins which help you to release the energy from food. If you are feeling dog tired, its very difficult to keep an even head! B vitamins also have quite a calming effect upon the central nervous system.

 

Meal composition - by combining a high quality protein source with a high quality low GI carbohydrate, and nutrient dense fibre rich vegetables, you create a meal that releases its energy slowly. It drip feeds your blood sugar meaning that it keeps your energy levels at an even keel, rather than you experiencing the highs and lows. Keeping blood sugar even is incredibly calming for the simple reason that you feel neither hyperactive nor completely knackered! Even energy levels makes for a more even state of mind.”

Last weekend we had a lovely event to go to – the engagement of our lovely friends Andrew and Rebecca (Aka ‘Bat & Ball’). These guys are made for each other and we can’t wait for their wedding next year. Andrew has elected my Tom as ‘Best Man’… I don’t think he realises what he’s let himself in for. As I write this blog, Tom is beavering away in the corner, writing down the most embarrassing stories he can think of. God help you Andrew and CONGRATULATIONS!

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Also this week, I have been supporting ‘Jeans For Genes’. Jeans for Genes charity campaign has this year teamed up with the prestigious Edinburgh College of Art on the design of their official charity T-shirt. The T-Shirt features a one off design by young designer Rachel Hill. The design, which was one of hundreds submitted via a competition open to Edinburgh College of Art students, features a double helix, which depicts the structure of a DNA molecule, combined with on trend SS14 pastel colours. The T-Shirt is a gorgeous piece that can be dressed down with shorts and sandals or dressed up with jeans and is available in sizes 6-22. The campaign supports children with genetic conditions, and their families. You really can make a difference this year and buy the Jeans for Genes T-shirt and support the campaign in style. The T-shirt is £20 and is available online from www.jeansforgenes.org/shop  . Jeans for Genes Day is on Friday 19th September and invites everyone to wear their jeans to work or school and make a donation to transform the lives of children with genetic disorders. Sign up for your free fundraising pack at: www.jeansforgenes.org

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Also, big congrats to my pal Kit Rice whose single ‘Nonsense’ is out this week! Such a talent. Buzzing for you honey!
Until next week campers!

Stay Happy, stay healthy and dream BIG!
Love

Auntie Cath

Xx

 

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