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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

24 July
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Swim, Sun and Salmon!

This week saw the waves of the ‘Great Swim’ at Salford Quays. Right on ‘Corrie’s’ doorstep. Over 3,000 turned out to take the plunge and my lovely other half Thomas was included.

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Unfortunately I was unable to swim due to a shoulder injury. I was absolutely gutted – I loved our swim at Windermere so very much and I’d been so excited about the Salford swim. Nonetheless, Tom did us both proud!

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Everyone there was firmly in great spirits despite the horrendous stormy weather, so many inspiring people diving in the Quays for their chosen charities. It was heart warming to see. I started the race off and wished everybody good luck, I was dying to whip a wet suit on!

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Although we had a wet start to the week, we’re all buzzing up north that at last the sun appears to be hanging about for a while! Wahoo!! Bikini’s out, BBQ’s at the ready guys! I’m going to be all sensible now – as much as we love to embrace the sun when he has his hat on – you should be wearing one too!! Us Brits have a terrible reputation for looking like lobsters in the summer, its quite true- many of us are simply not careful enough. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the UK, and rates continue to rise.

At least 100,000 new cases are now diagnosed each year, and the disease kills over 2,500 people each year in the UK – that’s seven people every day.

While we are getting better at understanding how skin cancer works, we still have a long way to go. On average, someone who dies from skin cancer typically loses 20 years of their life, and rates of malignant melanoma are rising faster than any other type of common cancer.

In terms of external protection we have sun creams right?
But there’s things we can do to help from the inside out believe it or not. Medicinal Chef and all round genius @dale_pinnock talks to us this week about how we can help ourselves and indeed our children:

“Whilst no food in the world is going to stop your skin from burning or getting overly damaged by the sun, but one important group of nutrients can offer some protection. This group is the fat soluble antioxidants. Antioxidants are diverse and varied in our food, but they can essentially be divided into two groups – water soluble and fat soluble. Water soluble antioxidants, like vitamin C, enter our general circulation where they deliver their effects for a specific period of time, before they are metabolised and excreted. Fat soluble antioxidants on the other hand don’t stay in circulation very long. By their very nature they want to migrate out into fatty tissues – such as the subcutaneous layer of the skin, where they can accumulate. As they accumulate here they can start to offer localised protection to the skin and the structures within it, such as collagen and elastin, from environmental and metabolic damage. Out of the fat soluble antioxidants, a group of compounds called carotenoids come up trumps. So where do you get these nutrients from? Any plant foods with an orange or deep yellow colour. Sweet potatoes, carrots, mangoes are all great examples. The carotenoids are colour pigments in plants that give the orange tones”

So if it’s orange? Eat it!! Every bit of protection helps right? Plus- the ‘lobster look’ is sooooo 1995. Tan tactfully and enjoy those rays!

Due to my shoulder injury (grrrr) our training has been altered this week so I’ve spent more time soaking up the sun outside Hale county club instead of sweating like a pig inside it.

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Taking my fab Corrie scripts out in the sunshine and chilling… Bliss! We’ve been training legs hard non the less and I’ll be sharing some more fab exercise from @paul_boys next week!

I’ve got a lush Salmon recipe for you this week, not only is salmon an AWESOME source of protein but its packed with omega 3!
The outstanding omega-3 benefits of salmon are not this food’s only claim to unique health support. One new area of health benefits for salmon involves the protein and amino acid content. Several recent studies have found that salmon contains small bioactive protein molecules (called bioactive peptides) that may provide special support for joint cartilage, insulin effectiveness, and control of inflammation in the digestive tract!

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Cath’s Cajun Omega Wonder!

2 salmon fillets, about 140g/5oz each (organic if possible)
juice 1 lime
pinch chilli powder
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp ground coriander
tsp Manuka Honey
drizzle of coconut oil

Put the salmon in a bowl, pour over the lime juice and leave the salmon to ‘cure’ for 5 mins. Meanwhile, mix all the spices together with the honey. Lift the salmon out of the lime juice and roll in the spices so it’s completely coated. Heat grill to high. Grease a baking tray, then sit the salmon, flesh-side up, on the tray. Grill for 5 mins, until the salmon is cooked through and the edges are starting to blacken. Job done! I like to serve with pan fried Garlic Broccoli and homemade salsa :-) Gorgeous!

Until next week my little Health Cherubs!
Stay Happy, Stay Healthy and Dreambig!!
Auntie Cath
xx

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://ow.ly/xY5DW

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

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

Auntie Cath’s Spicy Chuck and Fries

For The Chicken:

4 chicken breasts or thighs

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 lime, juice only

1 heaped tsp paprika

1 tsp ground cumin

pinch cayenne pepperr

1 tsp tumeric

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 tbsp coconut oil, for griddling

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

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For the fries…

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

2 tbsp Coconut oil

½ tsp Himilayan Pink salt

1 tsp crushed dried chilli flakes

freshly ground black pepper

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

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

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

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

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

Stay Happy, stay healthy and Dream Big!!

Love

Auntie Cath

Xx

11 July
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Celebrating Christmas in July!

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

Gino and Mum

Gino and Mum

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

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

Gino and Mel

Gino and Mel

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just call me Daughter of the Year!

Just call me Daughter of the Year!

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

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

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

Auntie Cath’s ‘Cram-a-Green Soup’

Ingredients:

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

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

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

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

All about posture

All about posture

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

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

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

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

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

04 July
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Stay Calm and Tap!

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

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

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Olympic Bar Twist

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

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

“EFT with Tania Louise – www.tanialouise.com

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

1 clove of garlic

2 tablespoon of low salt soy sauce

1 teaspoon of sesame oil

1 teaspoon of honey

2 handfuls of brown rice

1 400ml can of coconut milk

2 tablespoons of desiccated coconut

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

So, what makes this dish so special?

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

Stay Happy, stay healthy and dream BIG!
Love

Auntie Cath

Xx

 

27 June
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My Big Fat Greek Holiday

What a delightful start to the week I had! A few days away in Greece! Corrie storylines are about to get heavier at work (yey!!) So we grabbed the chance of a cheeky get away while we could. I pretty much spent the entire time sat on my backside… Utter bliss!

I went to Greece

I went to Greece

I’m a bit behind on this but -I finally got around to reading my friends book ‘The Confusion of Karen Carpenter’ by Jonathan Harvey. Jonathan and I met in 2006 when he wrote an episode of ‘Lilies’- a fantastic BBC period drama I starred in, set in Liverpool. Jonathan is one of our fabulous Corrie script writers too.

I’ve always loved his work, this book didn’t disappoint (but I knew that anyway).

My good read

My good read

Pretty sure the pool staff at our hotel thought I’d lost the plot as I laughed hysterically several times each time I picked this little treasure up. I became so engrossed with the lead character – Karen (I’d like to be friends with her) other times I had to pretend the chlorine in the pool had gotten in my eyes, rather than the fact I was indeed balling my eyeballs out – Greek stylee.

(Tom just thought I was hormonal and ate his own body weight in Feta). Such a fantastic book- strongly recommend it if you’re off on your jollys. You won’t put it down, I promise.

Gorgeous Greece

Gorgeous Greece

I spoke last week about exercising outside and finding alternatives when you don’t have access to a gym – I mainly sat on my backside during my holiday – as it was totally about recharging for me. However we did venture out on some lovely walks in the Greek countryside – where we did some hill sprints – which is an incredibly efficient way of burning fat and upping your cardio-game at the same time.

Obviously it makes life easier when you’re overlooking mountains and beautiful coastlines. Hey – it made eating all that glorious Greek food a lot easier too :-) Now then… I’d like to talk about poo please. There I said it! Oh don’t pull that face! We all do it! Fact is 70% of the nation suffer with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) at some point in their lives. This can be incredibly debilitating for some people. It’s something that most of us will suffer with to varying degrees. It is a common condition of the digestive system.

It can cause bouts of stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation. Symptoms vary between individuals and affect some people more severely than others. The symptoms of IBS tend to come and go in bouts, often during times of stress or after eating certain foods.

The exact cause of IBS is unknown, but most experts agree it’s related to an increased sensitivity of the entire gut, which can occasionally be linked to a prior food-related illness.

This may be caused by a change in your body’s ability to move food through your digestive system, or may be due to you becoming more sensitive to pain from your gut. Psychological factors such as stress may also play a part in IBS. If you think you may be suffering with IBS go and see your doctor!

There are things you can do to help yourself, foods to be avoided include: wheat, dairy, spicy foods and caffeine. Taking Magnesium and probiotics is helpful and eases cramps. Meditation often helps too in times of stress, I’ll be chatting to my good friend Tania next week about some ways in which you can help ease the symptoms and stress of IBS through meditation and EFT (http://www.prismhealing.co.uk/) The IBS Network also offers support- check out their website: http://www.theibsnetwork.org

I indulged in a facial

I indulged in a facial

When on holiday I always wear factor 50 sun-screen on my face (no one wants to look like a raisin at 40 right!). Nonetheless, it’s important to feed the skin after over exposure to the sun. The skin can become extremely dehydrated. So I indulged in a rose-oil based facial this week too.

It really rehydrates the skin, as well as having anti-aging properties it is an antidepressant: rose oil boosts self-esteem, confidence, and mental strength while efficiently fighting depression. So get smelling the roses!

Eva is getting stuck in behind the bar

Eva is getting stuck in behind the bar

 

I’m back on the cobbles now, as always were extremely busy and Eva is getting stuck in behind that bar.

So wonderful working with Bev and Simon (Liz and Steve). They both have me in fits of giggles most if the time – true Rovers legends! And I’m pretty sure Eva will be borrowing Liz’s bling at some point! Ha ha. Till next week kids! Stay happy, stay healthy and Dreambig!

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