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17 April
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Coconut babies and Theatre!

I’ve been a busy bee this week! We had a glorious start to the week with the wedding of my beautiful cousin Kimberley. Congratulations Kim and Mark!! Such a lovely day and Kim looked so gorgeous.

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Alfie and I have been squeezing in as many cuddles as possible this week :-) Everyone keeps telling me how fast time will go – they’re right! I can’t believe he’s almost 4 weeks old already. The days are flying by! So I’m determined to make the most of every second. He’s had lots of visitors this week too!

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The lovely Antony Cotton and Brooke Vincent have bobbed over for tea and cuddles and I’ll be taking him for his first visit to the cobbles next week :-) When I first started to bathe Alfie- he wasn’t very impressed. Babies under 6 weeks HATE being naked. They feel cold and vulnerable. But in these past couple of weeks he seems to love bath times. He hasn’t a scooby-do what’s going on- but he just kinda floats about with a look of complete wonder and contentment on his little face. It’s adorable to watch. We’ve been using organic coconut oil on his skin afterwards – it’s fantastic for skin and completely safe for babies.

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Coconut oil is very good at hydrating skin. It conditions, moisturizes, and softens skin. It isn’t full of water or petroleum like some of the other products available for babies. Coconut oil naturally helps to clear away dirt and dead skin cells AND it even has some antibacterial properties – getting rid of harmful bacteria. Plus my baby smells like a summer holiday all day long :-)

This week Viv Nicholson sadly passed away. My deepest sympathies go out to her friends and family. Viv Nicholson won £152,319, 18 shillings and 8d on the Littlewoods Pools in 1961 -which was a fair old amount in those days. The equivalent of around 3 million today!

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Viv famously announced she would no longer be sensible or boring and ‘Spend, Spend, Spend!’ (A girl after my own heart!) Her story was turned into a hit musical of the same title – with a book and lyrics by Steve Brown and Justin Greene and music by Brown. Viv’s life consisted of five husbands, expensive sports cars, fur coats, alcoholism , and sadly bankruptcy (Sounds like an episode of Corrie right??). My good friend Katy Dean is currently starring in the musical at The Union Theatre – recently nominated for ‘Best Actress’ at the Off West End Awards. Review for this cast and production have been fabulous. I went to drama school with Katy – she is such an outstanding actress and singer – if you get chance to go and see this production its an excellent portrait of a very interesting life. And very much proves the point – ‘Money does NOT buy happiness’.

http://www.uniontheatre.biz/spend-spend-spend/4588452199

Talking of theatre- we went to see ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ this week. A musical very close to my heart, as I played Mary Magdalene sometime ago. Tom hadn’t seen the show before so we went for a bite to eat first and made an evening of it. Our first little night out since having Alfie…To be fair we were looking at photo’s of him on our phone most of the night and couldn’t wait to get back to him!! Another piece of magical theatre is no doubt Jonathan Harvey’s ‘Beautiful Thing’ currently playing at Salford’s Lowry Theatre. One of my favourite plays by one of my favourite writers – if you get chance to see it – Tis a must!! http://www.thelowry.com/event/beautiful-thing

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Now then, around this time of year I get a real cob-on with the pollen count! Anyone else suffering with Hayfever? ladies, its even worse for us, if like myself you’re a ‘girly girl’ and love your make-up. Its not about having mascara streaming down your face is it? Well, help is at hand, in the form of face-angel Armand Beasley.

I called him last week to ask his advice on what we can do to stop our lovely summer faces sliding off! He gave me some great advice – and so, because I love you lot…here its is! Hope it helps some of you!

Avoid An Eye Sore!

If you suffer from ‘allergic rhinitis’ you may be dreading the spring and summer months. Yep, hayfever can be the bane of people’s lives especially girls who love the glamour of eye make-up…
Well there are a few things that you can do to ease those nasty symptoms besides minimising mucus building foods like dairy.

From a topical perspective when it comes to eye makeup you should keep it simple. Swap your powdery shadows for a cream or ideally coconut oil based shadow

Obvious culprits for aggravating already sensitised eyes are loose metallic shadows and glitter. Using your ring finger to sweep the cream shadow all over the movable part of the eye…and of course, make sure that your hands are scrupulously clean as pollen, pet hair and dust love finger nails.

Avoid any shadows that have a red or blue undertone to them as these can accentuate any redness whereas green or neutral tones can help minimise redness.
Curling the lashes will help to make the eyes look wider and to ease puffiness of irritated eyes try the cooling aloe vera & honey eye mask that I showed you how to make last week.

Mascara is a key player in making women feel glam but this can also be one of the main irritants to sensitised eyes, so try brands that do good natural/organic mascaras.

Always make sure that you change your mascara every three months to minimise bacteria on the lashes as hayfever sufferers can be prone to conjunctivitis so NEVER share your mascara!!
Gentle removal of eye makeup is also important…so invest in a super gentle eye makeup remover or my favourite desert island product…organic coconut oil will also do the trick.

When your outdoors make sure you wear sunglasses or spectacles to help shield your eyes from that pesky pollen!

Thanks Armand!

Until Next Time Campers!

Stay happy, Stay Healthy and Dream BIG!!

Auntie Cath

10 April
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Feeding baby and feeding me!

Half way into my pregnancy I started to research ‘feeding options’. I have been very fortunate that I am able to breastfeed and I’m really enjoying it. There are of course some great formula milks available these days, that cater for many of babies needs. But I can’t help but be in awe of breastfeeding and the benefits for mum and baby! I think if you’re able to breast feed – its so worth looking at the many pro’s of doing so. Here are a mere few!! I think you’ll be pretty surprised at how amazing your body can be.

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Super Boobs!

*Pneumonia, colds and viruses are reduced among breastfed babies

*Breastfeed your baby and you reduce his risk of developing some conditions, such as type I diabetes, celiac disease and Crohn’s disease.

* Women who breastfeed have a lower risk of post menopausal osteoporosis

*Breastfeeding lowers your baby’s risk of sudden infant death syndrome by about half.

*It’s more likely that neither of you will become overweight if you breastfeed .

*Breast feeding burns calories! Between 400-500 per day on average!!

*The oxytocin (the love hormone) released when you feed your baby helps your uterus contract, reducing post delivery blood loss.

*Breastfeeding can decrease your baby’s risk of some childhood cancers. It also lowers the risk of pre menopausal breast cancer and ovarian cancer for us mum’s!!

*It’s also higher in protein and lower in sugar than formula milk!

Its got to be worth a shot right mum’s? Not to mention how lovely it feels to be feeding your baby :-)

This week we read in the press that a young mother of three Amanda Booth, 28 from Middlesborough died from Cervical cancer. Amanda had been too scared to go for a routine smear test, after she had experienced abnormal bleeding. Reading her story filled me with so much sadness. Amanda knew she had made a huge mistake by not attending her appointment and spent her last days urging other women not to make the same mistake. My deepest sympathies to her family.

There have been several similar stories over the past few years- many of the patients – very young women that were deemed ‘too young’ for smear tests. I am backing the campaign to lower the age of smear tests. In my opinion if a woman of ANY age displays ANY of the symptoms associated with cancers of the female reproductive system – she SHOULD have a smear test. It’s simply not worth the risk. One of my own friends went to the doctor many times – with lots of symptoms. Pleading with doctors many times… finally being diagnosed with cancer …in its later stages. This is an outrage to me. With constant tragic stories in the press of women who had either been ‘too young’ to have a smear test or whose symptoms were ignored several times… how are we allowing this to continue? This is something we need to make a stance on together. With the help of several celebrities such as Angelina Jolie and Michelle Heaton helping to raise awareness – now is the time for us to listen and fight for more care to be taken- for women not to be fearful of smear tests and to get the age lowered for smear testing as soon as possible. There are several signs of cervical and Ovarian cancer. If you have experienced ANY of these symptoms – get it checked out – PRONTO:

Vaginal bleeding or discharge from your vagina that is not normal for you.

Pain in the pelvic or abdominal area (the area below your stomach and between your hip bones).

Back pain.

Bloating, which is when the area below your stomach swells or feels full.

Feeling full quickly while eating.

A change in your bathroom habits, such as having to pass urine very badly or very often, constipation, or diarrhoea.

Between periods

After or during sex

A vaginal discharge that smells unpleasant

Discomfort or pain during sex

If you’re feeling nervous about going for a smear test – you’re not alone and there is plenty of support out there! You can find more details and support here:

http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/type/cervical-cancer/about/cervical-cancer-symptoms?gclid=CjwKEAjwo5OpBRDU64qO07OXq00SJADn5hYn10RFoc2DZjj_DBvCDJJvCGvRdxxhdsoXBAcUfjcFchoCVXrw_wcB&dclid=CKyb0MKn5sQCFS6RwgodMjYAyQ

http://www.macmillan.org.uk/information-and-support/diagnosing/how-cancers-are-diagnosed/cervical-screening/what-is-cervical-screening.html

We had a gorgeous Easter weekend with some lovely country walks and family-catch ups!

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I swerved the Easter bunny this year as I’m on a healthy eating mission! Even though (credit where it’s due) my lovely mother-in-law to be Dianna, made a beautiful gluten free Easter cake. I managed to merely admire this chocolatey wonder …and munch on blueberries instead! If you’ve over indulged over Easter and fancy a bit of a choccy-detox, here’s a fab, cleansing drink to help you out! Just whizz this lot up in a blender! Ideal before breakfast (NOT instead of!! You NEED protein at the start of the day!). I have one of these upon waking and then follow up with eggs and salmon for example.

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Cath’s Cleanser

INGREDIENTS:

3 sticks of celery
4-5 kale leaves
1 green apple
one generous handful of flat leaf parsley leaves
1 lime
1 lemon
1 inch of fresh ginger

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Yes- I’m chomping at the bit to get back in the gym, and I’m feeling really good so it’s hard not to just dive in and throw some weights about. But it’s so important to allow your body the right amount of recovery time after child birth. So it’s lots of walking for me and Alfie till I am fully rested and repaired! Remember – to rush recovery is counter productive. You’ll suffer more in the long run!! Enjoy the rest if you’re in the same position!! I’ve been keeping up meditation and relaxation too! And had a gorgeous post pregnancy massage with my lovely pal Ashleigh at her spa. So important if you carried lots of tension in neck and back while carrying baby .

Until Next Time!

Stay Happy, Stay Healthy and Dream BIG

03 April
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Fats! The Good, the Bad and the very Ugly!

Thank you all so much for your lovely words of congratulations for our son Alfie! So much appreciated! We’re doing just great :-)

I managed to spend some lovely time with my gran, mum and sister pre-Alfie for Mother’s Day. Tea, Paleo cakes (recipes to follow!) and gossip enjoyed by all :-) Also had some time with my lovely cousins and their new cavapoo puppy ‘Boss’ – we’ve fallen in love with him! (Is now a bad time to ask Tom for a dog??)

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I’ve been having lots of greens drinks this week to help cleanse my body and balance out hormones. Absolutely no sugar and loads of fish – lots of healing foods too. Conscious as always of giving my body what it needs, and I’m feeling really good for it :-) You really ARE what you eat!! Give your body what it needs and you’ll reap the rewards and then some in terms of energy, complexion, growth and repair. 

An article in a tabloid earlier this week appeared to be panicking about the fat content of nuts and avocados…??? Without explaining that these fats are GOOD fats. Your body NEEDS them. They’re perfect snacking foods! Making them a part of a balanced diet will actually keep you fuller for longer and probably help you to lose weight if you’ve got the rest of your nutrition clued up! You’re body needs these good fats!! Are you trying to lose weight? Well then, have a small amount of good fat at every meal. No I haven’t lost the plot! Good fats digests slowly, so you’ll feel satisfied for longer, meaning you’ll eat LESS overall! It’s not just about weight management of course, you also need fat to help you absorb vitamins A, D, and E, and they are vital for your nervous system.

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Some of my favourite snacks and cooking ingredients include: Almonds, Walnuts, Avocado, Olive Oil, Peanut Butter (organic), Olives (green or black), Sunflower Seeds. These are what we call ‘Monounsaturated Fats’ (MUFAs), they raise good HDL cholesterol, lower bad LDL cholesterol, and protect against the build up of plaque in your arteries, they also help settle blood sugar levels.  As you know I eat a lot of salmon, mackerel and flaxseed (I put flaxseed in my greens drinks for easy consumption). All of which are classed as ‘Polyunsaturated Fats’, they also lower your LDL and are PACKED with essential omega-3 fatty acids — which boost brain function and help strengthen your immune system AND improve your mood. We getting the picture yet?? To save your confusion over which fats you should absolutely NOT eat — the fats you need to be avoiding are ‘Trans Fats’. These are made from unsaturated fat that’s been chemically altered to prolong the shelf life of certain foods e.g. margarine (which up until recently we all thought was better for us… because some dufus in a lab years ago said it was! Wish I’d listened to Gran when she said butter was best!), and obvious culprits like doughnuts, chips, biscuits, cakes and other crap. Trans fats raise bad LDL and lower good HDL, increasing inflammation throughout the body. In short — these foods and this type of fat are a one-way ticket to hotel heart disease! KEEP AWAY!

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My lovely pal Armand came over this week and showed me a really easy eye mask recipe that you can make at home. It’s perfect for us new mums when your face needs to look awake!! I’ve tried it a couple of times — it’s so refreshing. Armand shares the recipe with us:

“This perfect pick-me-up mask is a real treat for tired peepers. The ingredients are pretty easy to get hold off but I would always try and go for organic brands if possible, so have a search on the Internet for health food stores that stock them ( even some larger supermarkets have introduced a Wellness section). Mix 2 teaspoons of chilled Aloe Vera ‘whole leaf /inner leaf’ ( make sure it’s the thicker gel like juice and not just Aloe Vera juice as it will be too watery) with 1 teaspoon of organic cold pressed honey (Manuka is the best but a locally sourced one would be great too) and ‘hey presto’ you have a soothing yet revitalising eye mask.

You should have enough for quite a few applications. Store in a glass jar and pop it in the fridge. Use you ring finger to apply the gel to the orbital bone of the eye socket, starting from the outer edge of the eye and sweeping under the eye toward the inner corner, then just under the brow back to where you started. Pay special attention to the outer point, the central point under the eye and the inner corner by gentle pressing in these three areas to help aid in drainage.

Leave on for 20mins. You can even add a couple of slices of cucumber on top for an extra pamper as cucumber contains silica, antioxidants and ascorbic acid which can all help with puffiness and darkness. To remove gently wipe away with a damp muslin cloth or rinse off and gently pat your face dry. For maximum results use twice a week. (@armandbeasley).”

Much cheaper than some of the eye masks available behind the counter and it actually works! Give it a go!

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Now then campers!! I’ve found a lovely Easter treat that’s easy to make, tastes awesome and not an E number or an additive in sight! I made these last year and everyone loved them! So they’ll be pride of place on the Easter Feast again this year!

Lush Lemon Paleo Cupcakes!!

1 Cup of Almond Flour

2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
3 eggs
3 tablespoons raw honey
Zest and juice of one medium lemon
2 tablespoons apple sauce
1 tablespoon unsweetened vanilla almond milk
pinch of vanilla powder (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)

For the coconut whipped cream:

One 14oz. can full-fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
1-2 tablespoons raw honey
pinch of vanilla powder (or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with 8 cupcake liners. Fill the rest of the muffin cups with water. Set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, sift together almond flour, flaxseed, baking powder and salt.

In another bowl, whisk together melted coconut oil, eggs, honey, lemon zest, lemon juice, apple sauce, milk, and vanilla until well-combined. Stir in dry ingredients until just combined. 

Distribute batter between prepared cupcake liners, filling each liner about 2/3 full. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Let cool in muffin tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Before preparing coconut whipped cream, place your mixing bowl and beater in the freezer for five minutes.

Remove can of coconut milk from fridge and flip it over. Open the can and pour out all the water. The solid coconut cream will remain at the bottom of the can. Scoop this out into your mixing bowl, and beat on medium speed for 1-2 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add honey and vanilla, and beat until incorporated.

Spread coconut whipped cream onto cupcakes and serve. Store leftover cupcakes in an airtight container in the fridge.

HAPPY EASTER GUYS!

Stay happy, stay Healthy and DREAM BIG!!

Love Auntie Cath 

xx

16 March
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Healthy fish and bake for heroes

Now, we’ve all heard the ‘old wives tale remedies’ for babies past their due-date…”Due date” – theres a dubious phrase! In this country we class a ‘full-term’ pregnancy as 40 weeks, but in other countries its 39, 42 and 43 weeks!

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My lovely friend Lucy Jo Hudson gave me some fabulous advice a couple of months ago – keep busy on your due date!! Only 5% of babies arrive on this ‘guesstimate’. If you sit around the house waiting for baby to arrive on your ‘due date’, chances are you’ll be disappointed! Especially if it’s your first baby. So, off I went – on my due date, to have a day packed with pampering and socialising!

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Speaking of cooking! I have a gorgeous recipe this week – inspired by a trip to one one my favourite Restaurants – ‘Australasia’ in Manchester . Tom took me there this week for a lovely lunch.

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My favourite dish there (I say ‘favorite’ I’m borderline obsessed) is the ‘Black Cod’ – it’s utterly DEVINE. I order it every time I go – without fail. I keep promising myself I’ll learn how to make it. And this week – I did! #clevercath . It’s easy to cook, relatively inexpensive and is PACKED protein! Not to mention my favourite little things – Omega 3 fatty acids! We all know fish is wonderful for our health. Cod contains a wide variety of great vitamins and minerals. Including:

• Vitamin B6

• Vitamin B3

• Vitamin B12

• Vitamin D

• Omega 3

• Phosphorus

• Potassium

• Tryptophan

• Selenium

A four ounce portion of cod contains over 50 percent of the daily recommended value for protein guys! BOOOM!

I eat loads of fish especially cod, tuna and my beloved salmon. The health benefits are huge so give this little treat a try – let me know what you think!

Cath’s Clever Cod

1/4 cup sake

4 tablespoons white miso paste

2 Tablespoons of Organic/Manuka Honey

1/4 cup mirin

4 black cod fillets

(I made the Miso Marinade a day before cooking and marinated the fish): Bring the sake and mirin to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Turn the heat down to low then add the miso paste, and whisk. When the miso has dissolved , turn the heat up to high again and add the honey, keep whisking – and don’t burn the bottom of the pan! Remove from the heat and Cool to room temperature.

Pat the black cod fillets dry with kitchen towel. Slather the fish with the marinade and place bowl and cover tightly . Leave to marinate in the refrigerator for 1-2 days.

cooking the fish: Preheat oven to 200. Heat an oven-proof skillet over high heat. Put a little oil in the pan (I like coconut oil), then place the fish skin-side-up on the pan and cook until the bottom of the fish browns and blackens a little (3 mins-ish) . Flip and continue cooking until the other side is brown then transfer to the oven and bake for 5 to 10 minutes, until fish is opaque and flakes easily. We served with stir-fry greens – simples!

This week I’ve been supporting ‘Help For Heroes’ by taking part in ‘Bake For Heroes’. Raising money for charity AND baking cakes?? Whats not to love? It a great idea and its so easy to get involved. Click the link below to see how you can help and join in. Its a great thing to do as a family – the kids will love it! :

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Bake For Heroes:

http://www.helpforheroes.org.uk/bake-for-heroes/how-to-get-involved/

Till next week my health bunnies!!

Stay Happy, Stay Healthy and Dream BIG!

Love

Auntie Cath

xxx

06 March
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No Smoke without Fire and Sweet Treats!!

Something that never ceases to amaze me is seeing a pregnant woman smoke.

Its something I saw only recently…wait for it…outside a hospital!! I had to try so hard not to march over there and knock it out of this ungrateful mother-to-be’s hand.

I am fully aware of how powerful addiction can be and I do empathise – really I do. But when you are carrying something so precious – what right do you have to impose those harmful chemicals on another human being? From the moment I found out I was pregnant I questioned EVERYTHING I put into my body.

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I think if expectant mum’s who are struggling to quit smoking just had one look at how harmful it can be to their child – that would be enough to stop. Every cigarette you smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals, so smoking when you are pregnant HARMS your unborn baby. Cigarettes can restrict the oxygen supply to your baby- THUS their heart has to beat harder every time you smoke. In case thats not enough for you (if not …why the hell not?)

Here are some of the other gains to be made from giving up cigarettes during pregnancy:

• you will have less morning sickness and fewer complications in pregnancy

• you are more likely to have a healthier pregnancy and a healthier baby

• you will reduce the risk of stillbirth

• you will cope better with the birth

• your baby is less likely to be born too early and have to face the additional breathing, feeding and health problems that often go with being premature

• your baby is less likely to be born underweight: babies of women who smoke are on average about 8oz lighter than other babies, which can cause problems during and after labour. For example they are more likely to have a problem keeping warm and are more prone to infection

• you will reduce the risk of cot death, also called Sudden Infant Death (find out about reducing the risk of cot death.)

Something else to be aware of is second-hand smoke. On the odd occasion that some rude person has ‘sparked up’ near me whilst I’m pregnant – I remove myself from the area immediately .

Second-hand smoke can reduce birthweight and also increase the risk of cot death. Babies whose parents smoke are more likely to be admitted to hospital for bronchitis and pnemonia during the first year of life.

More than 17,000 children under the age of five are admitted to hospital every year because of the effects of second-hand smoke.

Now if all those facts and figures aren’t enough for you to put that poisonous little cancer stick down…then…well…may Karma forgive you!

To find out more about quitting and to get support, call the NHS Smoking Helpline on 0800 0224 332.

…….

I’m still with child. I feel as though I have been with child since 1942.

As always (and against other mums advice) I have been keeping myself busy!! I have a couple of really exciting projects in the pipeline that I simply can’t wait to share with you!!

I’ve been doing lots of studying and writing – all will become clear soon!! I’m very excited for the year ahead! Thank you for all your kind words in regard to Eva Prices ‘exit scenes’ in Coronation Street last week. I’m so pleased you enjoyed them. I adore working with Ryan Thomas who plays Jason and we both really appreciate your support!

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Speaking of my ‘telly fella’ , Ry came to see Tom and I this week with his beautiful daughter Scarlett, and gave bump one last cuddle before … Well… before bump is a BABY!!

In the past few weeks I’ve struggled with pregnancy water retention. My hands and trotters look like big fat sausages and my cheek bones have all but disappeared:-( .  However there are things we can do to help this!

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Here are a few tips, if like me you struggle with water retention at any point:

• Step up protein intake! More protein encourages your body to shed excess fluid

• Acupuncture

• Cut back on dehydrating drinks such as coffee, tea and alcohol (Obviously if you’re pregnant alcohol should be removed from your diet anyway and caffeine intake should be reduced according to trimester and current health)

• Drink more water!! Water retention comes from a lack of water because you’re body doesn’t know when it will get more water so it retains the water that it doesn’t get- so help kidneys to flush out excess fluid

• Girls – check your menstrual cycle – I always retain water for a period of time during my monthly cycle

• Write a food diary – you might see connections between certain foods and periods of swelling

• Cut high sodium foods out of your diet – salt absorbs water and causes water retention

• Eat a healthy, balanced diet that contains a lot of vegetables and other high-fiber foods

Thank you to my uber talented pal @calumtierney @terencepaul who cheered me up no-end this week by making me feel like a ‘yummy mummy’ by giving my hair another make-over.

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What a difference a visit to the hairdressers makes when you’re feeling fed up eh? Well, I don’t want to have roots and split ends the first time I meet my son now do I? ;-)

Plus – how relaxing is an Indian Head massage while having your hair washed? I must have fell asleep for a good 30 mins at the hair bowl! God bless them for not waking me up! Ha ha ha – thank you Calum!

This lovely day was followed by an uber indulgent cheat meal with my fiancee Tom. Possibly the last cheat meal of my pregnancy so it would have been incredibly rude not to have had that huge brownie with ice-cream…right?? We shared it…honest.

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Speaking of brownies – here’s a fab recipe I came up with for my little cousins who – like most kids adore chocolate and adore cake. I wanted to make them a healthier version of ‘Brownies’. They’re easy to make and a lot better for you than the regular supermarket brands that are filled with sweeteners and E-numbers. Give them a go! Lovely little treat!

Auntie Cath’s Paleo Choc-Choc Brownies

Ingredients

• 2 cups of Cashew butter or Organic Peanut butter (

• 3 eggs

• 1 cup of Manuka Honey or raw organic honey

• 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

• 1/2 cup of raw cocoa powder

• 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

• 1 teaspoon baking soda

• 1/2 cup organic dark chocolate melted

• 1 very ripe banana

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 180

2. In a large mixing bowl, blend your almond butter and eggs to make a smooth batter

3. Add in the honey and the vanilla and mix well

4. Add the salt, baking soda, and then SLOWLY add in the Cacao powder (or else you will take a chocolate powder bath like I did the first time)

5. Now fold in the melted chocolate and banana, and mix well

6. Grease a baking dish with coconut oil bake for 30-35 minutes – then witness the fitness!!! YUM!

Stay Happy, stay Healthy and Dream Big!

Love

Auntie Cath

xx

27 February
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Nesting, Butt-Crunches and Guilt Free Pizza!

 

It’s been a busy week of nesting! A few finishing touches to the house before baby arrives. Gym mirrors are up…reflection has changed somewhat but we’ll get that back

;-) and my lovely, talented friend from ’60 Minute Make-Over’ Rachel Robinson (@rayssewingroom) surprised me with the most beautiful new curtains for the nursery!

I shed a tear when I walked in – it was the finishing touch we needed! Thanks Rach! I’ve also been putting prams together, sussing out car seats and practising nappy changes with any baby I can lay my hands on! So we’re all ready to welcome this little bundle.

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HUGE congrats to my Brother and Sister in law to be -Ian and Sarah. They have just welcomed their beautiful baby girl – Penny!! Tom and I dropped into one of our favourite little tea shops ‘The Secret Garden’ (Such a cute little place – check it out : @secretgardentearoom) and we raised a cup of peppermint tea along with a cheeky flap-jack to little Penny :-)

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We’re off for a cuddle tomorrow – I can’t wait to meet her. Hurry up bump! Penny wants her little pal to arrive!!

I also had some last minute pampering before the little one arrives , with my lovely pal Natalie Whitfield. Nails , facial and massage ahoy!

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I have been drinking lots of Raspberry leaf tea these past few weeks. After reading up on this tea, I figured it was worth a shot. Not only does it taste bloody good, there are benefits of drinking it during pregnancy. Now obviously everyone is different, and you shouldn’t start drinking Raspberry Leaf tea without consulting your midwife or a doctor. Some people really believe this tea has a positive effect for the following reasons:

It is naturally high in magnesium, potassium, iron and b-vitamins which make it helpful for nausea, leg cramps, and improving sleep during pregnancy. The specific combination of nutrients in the tea makes it extremely beneficial for the female reproductive system. It strengthens the uterus and pelvic muscles which some midwives say leads to shorter and easier labours. The evidence for the effects of raspberry leaf tea on labour is mixed: One small study found that women who drank the tea regularly towards the end of pregnancy had a shorter ‘pushing stage of labour. They were also less likely to have a birth assisted with forceps. Some users have also claimed it has really helped to reduce morning sickness.
As I have already mentioned you MUST consult a doctor or midwife before taking any herbal supplements whilst pregnant. Got to be worth a shot right ladies?!

Here’s an über gentle exercise for us heavily pregnant ladies!

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You can do this daily to help maintain some kind of structure to that expanding backside! With days to go till my due date, exercise has been very gentle. Remember – exercising during pregnancy should NEVER be about weight loss- that isn’t our goal. Its about keeping that muscle memory active and keeping healthy and fit for birth and your little treasure :-)

Simple Glute Crunch

Assume start position as shown by kneeling down and supporting your upper body on your forearms.

Keeping your right knee bent, slowly lift that leg behind you so your foot raises up toward the ceiling.

Return to start position and repeat with left leg.

Pre-pregnancy I’m a HUGE fan of HIIT training. It really is fantastic for weight-loss. Confused at to what it is?? Tom Pitfield explains (TP_PTFitness):
HIIT training VS Steady state cardio

HIIT Training – High Intensity Interval Training. Why? Fast effective way to burn fat.

Steady State Cardio – Why? Build up fitness and general well being.

“Up there with being asked “why can’t I eat bread” this is one of the most frequently asked questions I get asked every week by clients. HITT training is all you read about in all the magazines these days and it’s confusing people somewhat. As always it all depends on your main goal. Do you want to lose body fat?

Yes HITT training is by far better for you in terms of burning fat than steady state cardio. BUT if are training for a specific sporting event and want to improve your cardio vascular fitness, steady state cardio has a place for you.

Both have pros and cons. HIIT training is time efficient and can be done in less than 20 minutes. But in my opinion you do have to have a decent level of fitness first to take full advantage of HIIT training.

Steady state cardio can be done by all levels of fitness, whether it’s a light swim or walk. However it isn’t always the right choice for people wanting to lose weight and this can often be misleading.

Just to throw a spanner in the works, there’s a third point you should take note of. If you enjoy running or road biking for example, and find it enjoyable and de stressing… Then I wouldn’t discourage you from doing that. You can benefit from exercise in all areas, not just the physical. Improving your mental state of mind is just as important as your physical goal.”

Antony Cotton has been cooking up a storm this week with one of my favourite Paleo recipes – Cauliflower based pizza!! I made a similar version of this during the summer and you guys seemed to LOVE that recipe – so I
thought I’d throw this one at you!

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We all went for dinner earlier this week and swapped some fabulous paleo recipe ideas- So I owe this one to Ant (although I have tweaked slightly!) – who we all know  is a fabulous cook! We’re making this at the weekend – its delicious!! Tweet me your pizza pics guys! @cath_tyldesley

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Auntie Cath’s ‘Sorry- Not Sorry Pizza’

• 340g raw cauliflower, fresh or frozen

• 1 large free-range egg

• 75g low-fat mozzarella cheese, grate 50g and slice the remaining 25g for the topping

• 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese

• 1/4 teaspoon dried basil

• 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

• 1/4 teaspoon garlic

• sea salt to taste

• freshly ground black pepper to taste

• 2 fresh tomatoes, thinly sliced (40 calories)

• 1/2 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced (20 calories)

• 2 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and minced (8 calories)

• 1/4 teaspoon red chilli flakes (4 calories)

• fresh oregano or basil, to garnish

Line a pizza stone or tray with greaseproof paper.
Pre-heat the oven to 200.

Grate the cauliflower, or process it in a food processor – it should be like fine crumbs. If using frozen cauliflower, squeeze excess water out of it and crumble with your hands .

Microwave the cauliflower crumbs for 5 to 6 minutes, or until soft. You can also steam or boil the cauliflower, but you will need to squeeze the excess water out of it afterwards if cooked with water.

Place the cauliflower crumbs in to an large mixing bowl and add the egg, grated mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, herbs, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Mix well, you should have a fairly stiff but malleable dough, as seen in my photos.

Place the cauliflower “dough” onto the prepared tray and pat out into a large circle, about 12.5cms (10″) in diameter and about 1.5cms (1/2″) thick. Spray the top with a little low-fat cooking spray and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown and firm.

Place the sliced tomatoes on top, sprinkle the chilli flakes over, scatter over the minced garlic and onion rings, season to taste with salt and pepper, and then arrange the sliced mozzarella cheese over the top.

Bake for 10 minutes or until the topping is bubbling and the cheese has melted. Scatter fresh oregano or basil leaves over and serve cut into wedges with salad leaves.

Enjoy!!
Stay Happy, Stay Healthy and DREAM BIG!!

Love Auntie Cath
xxx

23 February
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Skydives and Waddling Through Lunges!

My father in-law to be the lovely Steve turned 60 this week! Soon to be granddad celebrated with his nearest and dearest in style at ‘Mr Coopers’ in Manchester – we had such a lovely Sunday afternoon. I managed to waddle myself over and spend a few hours with everyone. When I say ‘waddle’…I mean waddle! Its pretty comical now – I swear this baby is laughing at me! Tom and I bought Steve a skydive for his birthday :-) Aren’t we lovely?? Moo ha ha ha – and one for my mother in-law to be (Dianna) too! We can’t have Steve plummeting from a plane on his own now can we?! You only turn 60 once right? Best make it memorable!

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I’ve had a few tweets asking for more info on Reiki during pregnancy. It’s something that I am fairly new to, but I have found most helpful in terms of relaxation and easing any anxiety. As promised, expert Tania Louise ( @EFTandHealing) explains more below! Hope you find this helpful guys! Give it a go!

Tania said:

“During pregnancy it’s common to experience anxiety about your health and the health of your baby, and also about the impending birth. With not only TV programmes showing all the things that can go wrong in pregnancy and birth but also friends sharing their experiences and online pregnancy forums, it can be easy to allow fearful thoughts to creep in.

Taking good care of your well-being during pregnancy means not only eating nourishing foods to support your body and baby, but also looking after your emotional well-being. If we allow anxious thoughts to take hold our stress levels can rise which can negatively impact our health and also affect our baby. So with this in mind treating yourself to regular healing sessions can help to bring about a sense of peace and well-being. When I work with pregnant women I tend to do a blend of Vortex Healing and Reiki as these gentle healing techniques help to release tension, soothe the body, mind and spirit, and release negative emotions.

In addition I find that EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) is a fantastically effective therapy for addressing negative emotions. 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.

During an EFT session we create a space where any negative thought patterns are discussed and worked through, and usually afterwards the person feels much lighter and clearer. While being positive is very helpful in pregnancy it is also important to have an outlet where anger, fear or worry are allowed to be expressed, as in letting out these emotions we can then process and release them.

For more information please visit www.tanialouise.com email tania@tanialouise.com

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Well even though I’m waddling – I still trying to keep that muscle memory going! Been going on some lovely country walks (with several pit-stops to rest!! Quite a change from our usual caffeine fuelled hill-sprints!!) Still lunging and squatting about (when I have the energy).

I’ve found my resistance band really useful these past few weeks. Resistance bands are pretty cheap to buy (starting at around £10) .Resistance Bands are strong, long bands designed for heavy duty training (basically a mahoosive elastic band) .

I’ve used mine in the past to add extra resistance when dead lifting (we’ll talk more about that when I’m back to regular training). However, they can also be adapted to help with pull-ups and other body weight exercises. This next exercise, I usually do at the start of a workout to ‘fire up my glutes’, but if you do several sets of these you can really feel the burn – plus its gentle while pregnant – using body weight and resistance only.

Walking Squats with Resistance Band

Tie a resistance band in a loop and step inside it so it’s around your ankles. Walk slowly for 20 steps, insuring you are keeping tension in the band and your upper body as still as possible. Chest up! Then get into a squat position and walk again for 20 steps. Call that one rep- I aim to do 4-5 sets depending how comfortable I am and where baby decides to set himself in my ever growing tummy!

As you know I’m a big fan of all things organic! I wanted to attend a seminar in London at weekend on Organic and natural beauty with Armand Beasley – his knowledge is amazing! I’m way too close to my due date to be heading to the ‘Bigus Smokus’ but if you have time – GO. It really is VERY interesting!! Armand will be giving a seminar on the rise of organic and natural beauty this Sunday 22nd Feb at 12.30on the Warpaint Magazine. (@warpaint_mag) stage at Professional Beauty Show at Excel in London. A show that also incorporates for the second year running, Organic & Natural Beauty Show. Good luck Face Angel!…@ArmandBeasley

Here’s one of my favourite recipes. Uber quick, paleo and tasty as hell!!

Auntie Cath’s Courgette Spaghetti and Sunny Turkey Meatballs!

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*You’ll need a ‘Spiralizer’ to make the courgettes into spaghetti-like strands. These can be bought as cheaply as £8 and are a god send! We use it for all kinds of vegetables!

3 Courgettes (Spiralized)

Garlic infused olive oil

1 Egg

2 small leeks

3-4 Rashers of smokey bacon, Crisp and finely chopped

4 Sundried tomatoes (finely chopped)

1 small red onion (Finely chopped)

tsp Dried oregano

Handful of fresh basil roughly chopped

1 Packet of lean turkey Mince

Salt

Pepper

Put the turkey, oregano, onion and Tomatoes into a mixing bowl. Add the egg and fold all ingredients together, season with salt and pepper. Grease a baking tray with a small amount of olive oil. Mould the turkey mixture into several small meatballs and place on baking tray. Bake at 200 in the oven for 15-18 mins – till golden brown and cooked through. In the meantime…

Put a little olive oil into a large frying pan and add the leeks, cook for 2-3 mins then add the courgette spaghetti, bacon and fresh basil. cook for a further 2 mins, stirring very carefully. Serve the meatballs onto of the spaghetti! #SIMPLES Pretty yummy cold too if you have some left over for the next day!

Until Next time!

Stay Happy, Stay Healthy and DREAM BIG

BIG LOVE

Auntie Cath

13 February
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Still waiting!

We are still waiting!

Anyone that says pregnancy makes you feel amazing and glowy??

Lies, certainly for the last month or two anyway

I’ll lay it right down there on the line. It IS amazing but do I feel amazing? Not right now babes!

I’m far too eager to meet this little gentleman now!

Something I have been really struggling with is sleep. Ive had complete insomnia for the past two weeks. Functioning on on 2-3 hours sleep an night. Its floored me! Talking to other expectant mums on twitter – it appears we are all in the same baby boat. Pregnancy insomnia is very common.

Whether you’re feeling anxious, fearful, worried or excited. Alongside with the glorious physical elements such as tender breasts, back ache, restless legs or a squirming little ‘night owl’ baby’ – it can make you feel pretty miserable!

I’ve been using SoulMate foods these past few weeks. They do a specific paleo plan, which while being so tired has been great – I expect it’ll be an absolute God send once baby is here!

Refreshing to find fresh, ready made meals that stick to a true paleo structure for when you’re busy.

With not getting much shut-eye, I have really gone out on a limb this week to try lots of different techniques to help me relax besides keeping up with a healthy eaitng plan.

We are very restricted with what we are able to take when pregnant – medicinally. You’re literally looking at a handful of options e.g.. Camomile tea, extra magnesium (either transdermally or capsules) both of which I do anyway. Normally I’d simply up my Magnesium intake upto 1000mg but to be safe the guidelines are no more than 500mg during pregnancy.

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So! This week I have had alternative treatments before going to bed.

Earlier today I had another session of reflexology with Beverley Hingham . Beverley is a an aromatherapist. One of the best in her field.

She has over 30 years experience in the beauty and holistic therapy industry, . Beverley has created products for many prestigious customers and became famous for her work in women’s health during the 1990′s. I’m uber lucky to count her as a friend! Her knowledge is amazing and this week she came over to do an ‘Oils For Birthing’ workshop with me. Its was soooo interesting!! We made three bespoke little potions to take me through each stage of labour – ALL the ingredients have been PROVEN to help in various ways. The benefits have truly blown me away – So I have asked Beverley to chat to you lucky lot about it in this weeks blog. Here’s what she had to say – I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!:

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Beverley Hingham:

“There are many benefits that can be found with Aromatherapy during pregnancy. It is important to be cautious if you have not previously used essential oils before you became pregnant. The general advice is to avoid the use of essential oils in the first trimester and avoid certain strong oils due to their chemical make up. Essential oils which are rich in phenols and useful for fighting infection will be too strong for the sensitive and delicate skin of the pregnant woman .These stimulating oils should be avoided throughout the whole of the pregnancy. It is also important to avoid essential oils which may be photosensitive as during pregnancy women have raised melanin stimulating hormone levels.

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If you have used essential oils before and have no history of miscarriage then with professional guidance both massage and aromatherapy can be very beneficial throughout your pregnancy and especially during the early stages of labour. When using essential oils it is important to remember that there are now two people who will benefit. Mother and growing child. If Mother is relaxed and healthy then so will the baby be relaxed and healthy. I always recommend a lower dosage of essential oils in a blend during pregnancy but we must remember that the Mothers body can still metabolise as normal and has an extra layer of fat surrounding the baby who again is safely supported in its own protective bubble.

Fruit and flower oils are favoured for their gentle stress relieving properties and uplifting qualities. Always use high grade essential oils from a reputable supplier and preferably organic or wild crafted, only the best will do at this time. Therapeutic essential oils of a high quality can present very little little hazard in comparison to low grade or synthetic oils.

The small amount of essential oil that actually accesses the Mothers skin is a minuscule amount and there have been no recorded instances where harm has been caused using aromatherapy massage during pregnancy.

Often pregnancy carries a stigma of a no go zone for Therapists. But this is the time when Holistic Therapies can provide tremendous support up to and during labour and beyond.

The main thing to remember is that being pregnant is not an illness. I taught Aromatherapy all through my pregnancy and my daughter continued to receive Aromatherapy from conception until the day of her babies birth.

The following oils are the ones I find beneficial. Always seek professional advice before having an Aromatherapy treatment and ensure you use the services of a highly trained Therapist.

Lavender (high altitude) is stress relieving and relaxing both physically and emotionally and this oil is said to be safe during pregnancy. Much research has been done to verify that high altitude Lavendula angusitifolia is a safe oil in pregnancy. It is useful for anxiety, tension, aches and pains or insomnia.

Chamomile (chamamelium mobile) roman chamomile is a gentle flowering herbaceous plant with comforting, soothing qualities . It eases discomfort and relaxes the body and mind. It is a mild pain reliever and therefore can ease aches and pains.

Mandarin (citrus reticulatta) is uplifting and refreshing. A mood lifting fragrance. This can be used when energy is low. It is also a good oil to use along with lavender in a carrier oil to keep the skin soft and supple and prevent stretch marks.

Bergamot (citrus bergamia) is also a good oil for its stress relieving properties during pregnancy. Avoid using it on exposed skin when out in the sun as it is photosensitive, yet this oil is very emotionally supportive and helpful for minor urinary tract disorders which can occur during pregnancy. Vaporising the oil in the atmosphere is a safe and pleasant way of using Bergamot.

Spearmint (mentha spicata) is a pleasant essential oil to sniff if nausea is a problem. It is gentler than peppermint but equally refreshing and calminative.

Frankincense (Boswellia carterri) is an oil that calms and regulates the breathing. It is good for reducing anxiety especially when used with Ylang Ylang (cananga oderata). Frankincense is also supportive to the skin and can be used with the lavender and mandarin in a body oil. Ylang Ylang as mentioned is good for stress and anxiety and nervous tension , it is however hypotensive reducing blood pressure so bare this in mind if you already have low blood pressure.

Always use very low doses of essential oils as a little is often better than a lot. 2 drops to a, dessert spoon 10 ml of vegetable oil for massage and 5 drops if using in an average sized bath, diluted in milk first. To inhale from a tissue 2 drops will be adequate and never take essential oils internally.

A gentle Aromatherapy massage or aromatic bath will be soothing and beneficial throughout pregnancy. As you get closer to the due date for the birth your therapist can create blends for you to take into the labour ward with you. Most hospitals now also have essential oils for expectant Mothers to use during the early stages of labour. A warm bath with lavender and rose will relax the body and ease pain and anxiety. Once labour is established a blend of lavender and chamomile will ease pain. Once the cervix is fully dilated Clary- sage can be added to the lavender and chamomile blend to aid and support contractions. Clary- sage (salvia sclerea) should only be used in the very late stage of labour under the advice of your midwife and Aromatherapist.

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Having a familiar aroma present at the babies birth will be reassuring for the newborn for experts say that their sense of smell begins in the womb. Keeping everyone calm at this special time is key and aromatherapy has the potential to do this.

Under the advice of her Aromatherapist, Mum can continue to use essential oils at home by vaporising them to soothe emotions or adding a few drops of a recommended essential oil to her bath to eases stress and encourage healing. Good old Lavender is always top of the list but a variety of essential oils can be used. It’s important to stick to the gentle safe oils at this time especially if breast feeding.

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Lavender – stress relieving , calming and relaxing
Chamomile – soothing and pain relieving
Geranium- balancing the mood and emotions.
Rose – healing and toning
Neroli- anti-depressant
Orange- uplifting and energising
Bergamot- refreshing and normalising
Ylang Ylang – reduces anxiety
Aromatherapy is a general restorative treatment. Always choose an Aromatherapist with specialised training in Pregnancy and antenatal care there are many wonderful Therapists out there.”

You can follow Beverley and seek more tips @potionshopUK

I’ve also had further Reiki sessions with Tania (@EFTandhealing) which has been hugely beneficial in lowering anxiety and relaxation.

I’ve been in the kitchen again! Tom loves America, he’s spent a lot of time state-side and one of his favourite American dishes is ‘Sloppy Joe’s’, but if you don’t want to wait for a ‘cheat night’ to enjoy them, we’ve come up with a Paleo version using lettuce wraps! Enjoy!

Floppy Moe’s (my Paleo take on ‘Sloppy Joe’s!)

• 2 tablespoon coconut oil

• 1 medium red onion chopped

• 1 medium bell pepper , green chopped

• 2 medium garlic clove minced

• 1 pound beef, ground

• 1 can tomato sauce (15 oz)

• 1 tablespoon chili powder

• 1/2 teaspoon cumin

• Handful of fresh coriander

• Crumbled Feta cheese (optional)

1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil when hot.

2. Add onion, green pepper, and garlic, and saute until tender (about 10 minutes).

3. Add ground beef, and continue to cook until beef starts to brown, stirring occasionally (about 8- 10 minutes).

4. Finally, stir in tomato sauce, chili powder and ground cumin.

5. Remove from heat and serve when beef is cooked through and tomato sauce is hot. Perfect poured into a lettuce wrap with cheese on top- Messy but bloody gorgeous! God Im good to you lot!

Speaking of good food – big congrats to our lovely pal @dale_pinnock who has released another four books this week! Part of his ‘Eat Your Way To Better Health’ collection. They look fab – can’t wait to read them all! I’ve made a start on ‘Anxiety and Depression’ – part of this fab foursome. Dale explains how you can decrease the symptoms of Anxiety and depression simply through the food you eat!! A diet that can affect your hormones in the right way to alter your mood! Fascinating stuff!

The next three books are ‘Diabetes’, ‘Digestion’ and ‘Heart Disease’ – all of which contain amazing recipes. I’ve said it a million times before – this guy is a genius! Give him a follow! His work has helped me a lot in my studies. Yup – more studies! No rest for the wicked! I’m studying while on maternity leave (I must be nuts!) all for the greater good so I can keep bringing you guys sound advice on nutrition! I figured I may as well make my knowledge ‘official’ as its something Im so very passionate about.

Until Next week Campers!

Stay Happy, Stay Healthy and Dream Big!!

Cath and Mahooooosive Bump!

06 February
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Fisticuffs and Sweet Little Lies

Last weekend Tom and I attended the ‘Vegas Fight Night’ at the Hilton in Manchester in aid of three great charities: Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, Once Upon a Smile and The Childrens Adventure Farm. We had a brilliant night!

Loved my makeup – Thank you @emmyclarkson1 !

My publicist Laura and I had a really good catch up ringside, and Tom had a good natter with Alan Halsall about all things fatherhood.

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I caught up with the gorgeous Lucy Jo Hudson (who has been giving me lots of tips during pregnancy) and it was great to see the lovely Carolynne Good, and my old pal from ‘Shameless’ Ciaran Griffiths.

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I love boxing as a form of keeping fit, once baby is here I’ll definately be doing some more of it! Dad raised me on the ‘Rocky’ films, so the sound track is on my birthing playlist to keep me going!! Nothing quite like ‘Eye of The Tiger’ or ‘No Easy Way Out’ when your giving birth eh? Ha ha.

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We had a lovely ride upto Hebden Bridge this week en route to see my gorgeous friend and new mummy Paula Lane. Hebden Bridge is such a cute little town. We fed the ducks, took a long walk and enjoyed some pub grub! But the highlight of our day was meeting Paula’s new little gentleman ‘Artie’.

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WHAT a cutie pie he is!! Paula looks amazing and has been giving me lots of tips as I near the end of my pregnancy. Missed her loads after working together so closely at Corrie and we can’t wait for our little chaps to meet when this little wriggle-bum arrives.

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Now, my pal asked me about sweetener this week. Concerned about giving her son products that contain this ‘devil dust’ as I like to refer to it! It’s something I’ve been meaning to blog about for sometime.

Permit me to rant if you will- it’ll be worth your time. Promise.

Sweetener – AKA THE DEVIL…

When I see a friend pour ‘sweetener’ into a cup of coffee, I want to save them and through it down the sink. I get a lot of people telling me ‘Oh I’m sugar free, I use sweetener instead’ – this fills me with dread and I immediately have to sit them down and educate them. Giving them copious links and reading material. Explaining the self harm that they unwillingly expose themselves to. It utterly mortifies me that some ‘slimming clubs’ condone the use of sweetener and use it in recipes. if you’re part of a slimming club that pushes sweetener – LEAVE.

LEAVE NOW and don’t look back!! Now – before I really dig my heels in and tell you exactly why sweetener is so horrific – let me first clarify a couple of things. There are some ‘natural sweeteners that are completely safe. They may not aid weight loss and still spike your insulin levels – but they are safe for human consumption and are a better alternative to refined sugar. I’m talking about natural things such as agave nectar and honey.

Also Stevia is also something worth looking at IF you really need that occasional sweetness. Its been used in Japan for yonks, millions of people around the world actually use it to aid digestion and for its antibacterial qualities, as well as curbing that need for sweets!

Most importantly it is natural, herbal and some forms of stevia won’t alter blood sugar levels!

The EVIL sweeteners I am warning you about contain Aspartame. This is found in many foods – mainly junk food but also many ‘diet’/ low fat foods pushed by big companies that don’t actually have a clue( to be honest if a product has the words ‘low fat’ or diet’ written on it – its usually full of crap). Aspartame was initially denied approval by the FDA EIGHT times.

Yes EIGHT times. I won’t get into the money making politics of how/why it actually got through, as Im likely to blow a gasket . Many scientists rallied together to tell people how unsafe this product was. Did they listen – NO, far too much money to be made out of unsuspecting over-weight people. The affects of Aspartame and another little devil called Saccharin have been so bad over the years – there are actually now ‘Sweetener Support Groups’ I believe. Side effects of these snowy mountains of utter rubbish include:

Mental confusion

Migraines

Reproductive Disorders

Memory Loss

Nerve Cell Damage

Blindness

Alzheimer’s

Bloating

WEIGHT GAIN

Hair Loss

Nervous System disorders

Diarrhoea

Swelling of the liver and Kidneys

Decrease in foetal body weight…

….I mean…Need I go on?? They also make the body highly ‘acidic’. When we are acidic we are more susceptible to illness and cancer. So please take that 40 seconds it takes to READ THE PACKAGING of anything you/your kids are about to consume. If the kids want a ‘sweet treat’, you’re not doing them any favours if it contains artificial sweeteners. We know sugar comes with its own problems too, so its best to always keep sugar levels low- but we’ll chat more about that next week.

In short KEEP AWAY FROM SWEETENER!!!

Here is a fab recipe you can eat anytime of the day – I even pre make these for breakfast sometimes. Paleo all the way -these high protein treasures are also packed with good fats and flavour!

Auntie Caths Tuna Fishcakes!

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• 2 cans (5-6 oz cans) of tuna
• 1 Tablespoon of fresh coriander , finely chopped
• 1 small fresh chili, finely diced
• 2 eggs, whisked
• 2 Tablespoons coconut flour
• 2 Tablespoons coconut flakes
• 2 Tablespoons coconut oil
• ½ Tablespoon salt
• 1 Tablespoon coconut oil to cook in

Instructions

1. Flake the tuna.
2. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.
3. Shape the mixture into 4 patties.
4. In a skillet on medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Cook the 4 patties until they turn golden. Turn them over and cook the other side until golden. Gorgeous with homemade salsa! Also nice cold so perfect for the kiddies packed lunches!

Until Next Time Health Warriors!

Stay Happy, Stay Healthy and DREAM BIG!!

Love

Auntie Cath

30 January
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Wonderful Wheatgrass, ‘Date Nights’ and Birthing Balls!

I’m a strong advocate of ‘greens drinks’. Especially if you struggle to consume enough green veg in your diet. Cramming several servings into a large ‘greens drink’ is a great way of making sure you get often more than your RDA. I make mine first thing in the morning, put it in a large flask with some ice and then drink it mid morning, as a second breakfast/mid morning snack. There are no rules as to what you put in a ‘greens’ drink, (obviously stick to green veg and alkalising foods!) but I’m a big fan of the following in mine:

Kale

Spinach

Half an avocado

Celery

One green apple

Wheatgrass shot

Ground Flaxseed

I add either water or coconut water to this and blend – gorgeous! There are also powdered greens drinks available on the market. Some of which are really good – especially if you’re in a rush, but I aim to make mine fresh whenever possible. I use a NutriBullet so nothing is wasted – its not a ‘juice’ its more of a super smoothie. I always make a large one and cram as much veg in as possible. A few of my readers have been twittering me with questions about Wheatgrass – something I use regularly.

Two ounces of wheatgrass juice has the nutritional equivalent of five pounds of the best raw organic vegetables! For example, wheatgrass has twice the amount of Vitamin A as carrots and is higher in Vitamin C than oranges! It contains the full spectrum of B vitamins, as well as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium and potassium in a balanced ratio. Wheatgrass is a complete source of protein, supplying all of the essential amino acids, and more. It has about 20% of total calories coming from protein. Because of the chlorophyll in wheatgrass it helps to neutralise toxins in the body and purify the liver. It also helps improves blood sugar problems. Whats more – Wheatgrass juice is great for constipation and keeping the bowels open because it is high in magnesium. I could go on! ( Its also gluten free because its cut before the grain forms. So if like me you struggle with IBS – this shouldn’t cause you any bother.) Give it a blast!

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I’ve been back in our home gym this week – Yey!! Granted – I can’t do much these days, but its important I keep active (even though my bump now looks like a beach ball and weighs a tonne!) I’ve found wearing a maternity belt really helpful when training, otherwise the weight of bump can cause stretching pains. Ive managed a few little cardio sessions on the cross trainer (not something I normally do but one has to alter as pregnancy progresses), putting the cross trainer on a tougher setting and really pressing into your heels helps work those glutes ladies! Ive also been keeping up with simple squats and lunges, using body weight only (thats enough these days!) and of course keeping up with pelvic floor exercises! Its been hard for me to accept slowing down my routine this much, I get out of breath much more quickly now – so you just listen to your body and increase your ‘rest periods’. As always – swimming is fantastic – its ideal during pregnancy as I’ve mentioned several times. As long as you’re staying as active as your body allows and eating well – thats all you can do yummy mummy’s! DONT put too much pressure on yourself – the main thing is correct nutrition!! You are the soil for your baby to grow – you wouldn’t pour chemicals over lovely fresh soil would you??

I’m having issues with sofas and chairs at present – now I’m heavily pregnant I find exercise/birthing balls an absolute God send!! There are many perks to sitting on a birthing ball at this stage:

• Increases blood flow to the uterus, placenta and the baby.

• Can relief spinal pressure.

• Will provide comfortable support for your knees and ankles.

• Will give counter-pressure to the perineum and thighs.

• The upright posture works with gravity which will encourage the descent of the baby.

• You can make different moves and still rest by leaning forward, pelvic rocking, swaying, doing hip circles and figure eights and of course gently bouncing to help move the baby down.

• Can increase the pelvic outlet as much as 30%, which also encourages baby’s descent.

• One of the most important benefits of using birth ball during your pregnancy is positioning baby in the right position right before the birth. Birth ball is very useful for that.

You can pick up a birthing ball quite cheaply – just make sure it inflated properly to support you and always make sure hips are above knees!

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I met up with Hypnotherapist Gemma Gibbons this week. Gemma’s success rate for treating people using Hypnosis is fantastic. I’ve known Gemma for many years and she suggested I have a few sessions leading unto the birth – as I’ve enjoyed ‘Hypnobirthing’ so much I knew this would be a great idea! Gemma also helped me to understand exactly how Hypnosis and self hypnosis works on our brains. For me at present this is a great tool for relaxing and reducing anxiety. I have friends who have managed to avoid medication thanks to hypnotherapy for things like IBS and even depression. It can be used for so many things – its basically re-training your brain to operate in a certain way, it can also be used to help people lose weight, stop smoking and conquer fears! Here Gemma explains in more detail for you! You can follow Gem on twitter too: @_trainyourbrain

How can hypnotherapy help?

Hypnosis itself reduces anxiety, and this is done very simply through relaxation and visualisation, allowing the client to focus on the positive aspects of their life that encouraging a shift in perspective.Through working with the client, Solution Focused Hypnotherapy can help with confidence and self-esteem problems. Help with stress and focus on relaxation. Weight management (obesity and eating disorders) It can also help (if necessary in conjunction with medication) in the treatment of low moods and anxiety, including panic attacks, agoraphobia (fear of open spaces) and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Phobias such as spiders, water, flying, and public speaking can also be minimised, along with painful memories and traumatic experiences.

What does a session consist of?

A session will be split into 3 parts, firstly focusing on where you the client wants to be. Secondly learning in-depth about the latest thoughts in neuroscience about the way our brain actually works and how we can control our own brain ourselves. Thirdly I use hypnosis to treat a variety of medical and psychological problems. Hypnosis (deep relaxed state) is a different state of consciousness which you can naturally enter so that access to the unconscious mind can be made. Then I can help reset memories and change your mindset to the person you want to be.

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As the final count down commences I’ve been waddling about as much as possible catching up with friends and enjoying as many ‘date nights’ as possible with my lovely Tom. I caught up with the gorgeous Jennie McAlpine earlier in the week and met her beautiful little boy Albert! He’s devine! We had a gorgeous lunch at her restaurant ‘Annies’ – was so lovely to catch up and talk about our boys! Cant wait for them to meet! Tom and I also had a lovely date night on Saturday followed by a slap up roast dinner with Antony Cotton and some of my boys on Sunday!! I could get used to this!!! All this socialising is exhausting.

I’ve been pottering around with some recipes as per! Fancied something a little different and came up with this… it takes under 5 minuets to make and tastes awesome! Hows this for a fab breakfast idea?

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Samphire Egg stack with Smoked Salmon

Small knob of butter

One spring onion Finely chopped

One whole egg and two egg whites whisked together

Small cup of Samphire

Cayenne Pepper

Himalayan Pink Salt

Portion of High Quality Smoked Salmon

Lightly fry the spring onion and samphire in the butter. Cook for a few minuets until Samphire softens, add the egg mixture and scramble. Add the salt and pepper to taste and serve alongside some yummy smoked salmon.

A high protein start to the day packed with Omega 3 and good fats to keep you fuller for longer. Its a great post workout meal too!

Give it a go Health Bunnies.

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Stay Happy! Stay Healthy! Dream BIG

LOVE

Auntie Cath and Ever Growing Bump

xx

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