August, 2014

29 August
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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

21 August
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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

15 August
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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

08 August
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Curries and Tough Mudder!

It’s been a busy week in Weatherfield . When you’re working in the Rovers Return you become embroiled with the buisness of its punters. You can’t help but get involved- and Eva is no exception! I’ve been filming some great scenes this week with the fabulous Bev Callard aka – the legend that is ‘Liz McDonald’. We’ve been having a right giggle between takes and sharing fitness tips and recipes. Bev teaches fitness and nutrition here in the UK and in Spain, so we always have a good natter about our new discoveries.

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The ITV canteen have been getting involved and bikini ready with gorgeous healthy BBQs for us too! It’s been a lovely treat! I’ve also been filming out on location in Wythemshaw with the gorgeous Paula Lane. I love Kylie and Eva scenes- they always get themselves into some kind of mischief don’t they?! I can’t wait for you to see the fab storylines coming up over the coming months! Eeeeek!

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In other news we celebrated Antony Cotton’s birthday at the weekend. Aka – Sean Tully! Antony is the king of fabulous parties and always does something special for his birthday. He threw a gorgeous BBQ with food supplied by none other than ‘Reds BBQ’ which was the BEST burger and ribs I ever did have the pleasure of polishing off! I felt like Fred Flinstone! Antony also spoiled us with a professional cocktail bar and a gigantic hot tub- all the right ingredients for an awesome party right?! We had a blast! Thanks Antony and a big Happy Birthday!!

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Due to a manic schedule I haven’t been able to train as much these past few weeks. So when I do train, Paul pushes me hard! My shoulder is getting better at the gym so this week we were able to do some more upper body work. One of our faves is ‘The Single Arm Row’.

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Personal trainer and nutrition expert @paul_boys explains:

“The single arm row is a great exercise for targeting the back muscles but also brings your core into the exercise with the bicep getting a good workout also. Keeping the supporting arm locked so it engages the core, with the weighted arm fully extended then drive the elbow as high as you can with minimal rotation in the core. Then lower in control and repeat the motion. With your knee placed on the bench have your other foot placed flat on the ground making a tripod like base. Keep your eyes on your supporting hand to keep the back in a neutral position.”

Paul competed in ‘Tough Mudder’ last week – in lightening fast, sickening time. Paul’s fitness level is that of a Marine. I’m convinced he’s actually a robot/terminator but he’s inspired me to work towards ‘Tough Mudder’ next year!! Yep!! You heard it here first! Can’t wait… Honestly… Electric shocks and all! (He’ll probably end up carrying me on his back like a human log but I can at least try right?)

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I’m going to share something very special this week! One of my dad’s curry recipes!! Graham is the king of curries and treated us to an Indian feast this week with one of his favourite dishes – Lamb Rogan Josh!!! Yum!! Here’s the recipe below! Ssshhhh don’t tell Graham!!!!

Papa G’s Lamb Curry

3 chunks fresh ginger, peeled, coarsely chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled
2 cups water
1 desert spoon of Organic Coconut oill
2 pounds boned lamb shoulder or leg, cut into cubes
8 whole cardamom pods
2 whole bay leaves
6 whole cloves
2 medium onions, peeled, finely chopped
1 teaspoon coriander seed ground
2 teaspoons cumin seeds ground
4 teaspoons red paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, ground (adjust to taste)
1 teaspoon salt, to taste
6 tablespoons plain yogurt
1/4 teaspoon garam masala
1 dash fresh ground pepper to taste

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Put the ginger, garlic and 4 tablespoons of water into the container of an electric blender. Blend into a smooth paste.

Heat the oil in a wide, heavy pan over a medium-high flame. Brown meat cubes in several batches and set aside in a bowl. Put the cardamom, bay leaves, cloves, peppercorns into the same hot oil. Stir once and wait until cloves swell and the bay leaves begin to take on colour.

Now put in the onions. Stir and fry for 5 minutes or until the onions turn a medium-brown colour. Put in ginger-garlic paste and stir for 30 seconds. Then add the coriander, cumin, paprika, cayenne, and the salt.

Stir well! Add the browned meat cubes and the meat juices. Now put in 1 tablespoon of the yogurt and stir and fry for about 30 seconds until the yogurt is well blended. Add the remaining yogurt, a tablespoon at a time in the same way. Stir and fry for another 3-4 minutes.

Now add 1 1/4 cups water and bring the contents of the pot to the boil, adding in all the browned spices from the pot. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for about an hour or until meat is tender. Every 10 minutes give the pot a good stir . When the meat is tender, take off the lid, turn the fire to medium high and boil off some of the liquid, stirring all the time, until the sauce is thickened. Scrumptious!! Freezes well too! Serve with brown, black or red rice or a bed of steamed kale :-)

Until next week Campers.

Stay Happy, Stay Healthy and Dream Big!!

Auntie Cath

xxx

01 August
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Kool kale and my Corrie co-star’s business launch

I think cereals are the devil. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. They are not a great way to start the day! The more sugar that’s in these unbelievably processed boxes of lies the worse they are.

What we chose to start the day with dictates our hormonal response for the rest of the day. You start the day with protein and you’ll stay fuller for longer and start burning fat. You start the day with processed, sugary carbohydrates and you are spiking your insulin – which leads to fat storage and cravings for similar rubbish for the rest of the day.

I’m not talking about Organic porridge – that sort of thing isn’t processed and is sometimes needed in our diet. I’m talking about cereals.

That includes cereal bars. Have you taken the time to read the back of them?

I think jaws will drop when you do. Can you even pronounce some of the rubbish that’s in there? Our bodies were not designed for this processed junk. I know, I know – I can hear you all shouting “its quick!” … “I don’t have time”. So you don’t have time to boil an egg for three minutes? You don’t have time to throw a turkey steak under the grill while you finish your make-up? MAKE TIME.

Its basically about keeping your body in a state of ‘Ketosis’. Let me explain what that is! Ketosis is a state at which the body has an extremely high fat-burning rate. Even the brain runs on bm fat (via ketone bodies). These are energy molecules in the blood (like blood sugar) which become fuel for our brains after being converted from fat by the liver.

To encourage ‘ketone production’, the amount of insulin in your bloodstream must be low. The lower your insulin, the higher your ketone production.

And when you have a well-controlled, sufficiently large amount of ketones in your blood, it’s basically proof that your insulin is very low – and therefore, that you’re enjoying the maximum effect of your low-carbohydrate diet. That’s what’s called optimal ketosis. (If you’re diabetic ALWAYS consult a doctor before tweaking your diet).

I DON’T believe in cutting out carbs from your diet. I believe in eating good carbs and losing processed food such as cereals. This isn’t just for maintaining a healthy weight. It’s optimal for your health. It’s the same with bread. I haven’t eaten bread in around 8 years. If I choose to enjoy toast I’ll have a slice of rye bread instead. It’s all about thinking ahead. A boiled egg with rye bread soldiers or even asparagus soldiers for example is a great breakfast for the kids.

Here’s some better breakfast ideas below:

*Turkey steak with pan fried spinach and tomatoes
*Omelette with smoked salmon and goat’s cheese
*Scrambled eggs and bacon
*Poached eggs on toasted rye bread with guacamole
*Kippers and wilted spinach
*Sardines on toasted Rye bread
*Turkey and red pepper omelette

I could go on – you get the idea, and getting up 5 minutes earlier isn’t a hardship when it comes to your health is it? Give it a try for 2 weeks – stick to it!

Don’t eat processed carbs and see how much better you feel – Get your nutrition from meat, fish, veg (plenty of greens and swap white potatoes for sweet potatoes), good fats like avocado, nuts and seeds lots of water – basically GO BACK TO NARURE! If it ran, swam or grew from the earth – EAT IT. Anything else has been tampered with! Rant over…

Lovely break with the boyfriend

Lovely break with the boyfriend

In other news this week, him indoors and I took a gorgeous Paleo picnic to Formby beach- it’s gorgeous there! We played a bit of volleyball and then chilled out and watched the sunset with some lovely homemade goodies. If you live up north – it’s certainly worth a visit!

Visiting London

Visiting London

I also bobbed down to ‘that there London’ to pay a visit to the lovely Kate Garraway on ITV’s Lorraine show. We had a good natter about The Great Swim, Corrie and nutrition.

I hung out with Kate Garraway

I hung out with Kate Garraway

 

From there I headed straight back up north for the launch of my lovely pal’s condiment and biscuit range at her beautiful restaurant ‘Annies’ – I’m of course talking about yummy-mummy to be Jennie McAlpine, who plays our wonderful Fiz-Bomb!

Jen has a gorgeous new selection of homemade jams, chutney’s, biscuits, mustards and sweets! We were all spoilt rotten! Well done Jen and Chris!

Well done to my Corrie co-star

Well done to my Corrie co-star

If you follow me on twitter you’ll know how much I love kale! I have it with a lot of my meals and in my greens drinks. It’s amazing! The health benefits are ridiculous – it is great for aiding in digestion with its great fibre content.

It’s also filled with so many nutrients, vitamins, folate and magnesium. Kale has more iron than beef. Iron is essential for good health, such as the formation of haemoglobin and enzymes, transporting oxygen to various parts of the body, cell growth, proper liver function and more. It’s also high in Vitamin K – Eating a diet high in Vitamin K can help protect against various cancers. It is also necessary for a wide variety of bodily functions including normal bone health and blood clotting. Increased levels of vitamin K can help people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

Antioxidants, such as carotenoids and flavonoids help protect against various cancers. One cup of kale is filled with 10% of the RDA of omega-3 fatty acids, which help, fight against arthritis, asthma and autoimmune disorders. Eating more kale can help lower cholesterol levels.

It’s high in Vitamin C -This is very helpful for your immune system, your metabolism and your hydration (better than eating oranges which are packed with sugar!). Per calorie, kale has more calcium than milk, which aids in preventing bone loss, preventing osteoporosis and maintaining a healthy metabolism. As well as everything I mentioned – Kale is filled with fibre and sulphur, both great for detoxifying your body and keeping your liver healthy.

 

One of my favourite recipes for Kale is below:

Crackin’ Kale Salad!

• 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
• 4 ounces sliced pancetta, diced
• 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
• 1/4 cup Manuka honey
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 red pepper
• 1 yellow pepper
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• Large bag of kale, stems discarded, leaves shredded
• 2 tart yet sweet apples, sliced into thick matchsticks
• 3/4 cup pecans
1. Combine the olive oil and pancetta in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until pancetta is golden and crispy. Strain the pan drippings into a small bowl and leave the crispy pancetta off to the side to cool. Add the cider vinegar, Manuka honey, salt and pepper and whisk well. Combine the peppers, kale, apples and pecans in a large bowl. Toss while adding the dressing, little by little, until salad is well dressed. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Garnish with crispy pancetta. Give it a try!

Until Next time!
Stay Happy, Stay Healthy and Dream BIG
Love
Auntie Cath
x

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