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30 July
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Petticoats, Porridge and Parents!

This week I visited a fab new American Diner in Manchester. I adore the 1950’s, the style, the clothes, the class! The dresses back then were so classy and feminine – a lady looked like a real lady! (Yes I probably sound like your Nan, but I don’t care!) We had such a great night dressing up in retro dresses, there was a Buddy Holly tribute act, all the waitresses were in full costume and I got to swan around like A character from ‘Grease’…what’s not to love!?

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I also met up with ‘my girls!’ The girls I went to school with…in fact we’ve all been together since Nursery! How cute are we? We all went for a beautiful slap up meal with our other halves to celebrate my pal’s restaurant being open for 22 years. Its so lovely to catch up with the girls. Were all so busy these days, but when we get together its like nothing has ever changed – we revert back to a bunch of giddy school girls – I love it :-)

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A HUGE Congratulations to Steve & Diana – my in-laws to be, they celebrated 40 years on marriage this week with their Ruby Wedding Anniversary. My parents also have their Ruby Wedding Anniversary approaching, our parents are very similar and both families have very strong family values. Tom and I are so lucky to have such an amazing support network – truly inspiring marriage graft!! No pressure Tom!

The time has come! Weaning Alfie has started!! I’ve been so excited for him trying new foods. We plan to make everything ourselves. In one of the books that I’m reading it advises new mum’s to start with a simple baby porridge…Be warned! Even baby porridge can contain some ‘nasty’s’, why would you add sugar and palm oil to baby porridge for example? Well some brands do!! ALWAYS read the label!! We’ve chosen to just give Alfie normal oats, milled very finely. No added sugar. No saturated fats. Just goodness! I’ve been so shocked at some of the ingredients in certain items…If I wouldn’t put it in my body – why on earth would I put it into my baby’s precious little body?? As Alfie progresses and explores new foods I’ll be sharing some fab, easy recipes further down the line.

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My training is going really well, Tom has been training me whilst I wait for my pals new gym to open. We don’t usually train together, but he’s been amazing (not to mention patient!) since I’ve had Alfie. He’s been so encouraging and motivational, and supports me every step of the way. I’m feeling stronger each day :-) Here’s one of the exercises thats helping ‘Momma get her Booty back!’ ha ha…

BARBELL HIP THRUST WITH BENCH

Muscle group

• Glutes

• Hamstrings

• Core

How

• Lie with your upper back supported on a bench and your feet planted on the floor in front of you. Hold a barbell across your hips.

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• Lower your hips down so your glutes almost come in contact with the floor.

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• Pressing through your heels and squeezing your glutes, return the barbell to the start position.

 

See You Next Week Campers!!

Stay Happy, Stay Healthy & Dream BIG!

Love Auntie Cath

23 July
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Wedding bell’s and bonkers body shaming!!

First up!!! Congratulations Mr & Mrs Battersby!!! Nope not the Corrie Battersby’s! Our lovely pals Andrew and Rebecca tied the knot at weekend – what a beautiful wedding and what a stunning bride!! As soon as Rebecca walked into the church I burst into tears!! Andrew is Tom’s best friend (although after Tom’s ‘Best Man Speech’ I’m not sure Andy sees it that way anymore!! Ha ha.)

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Tom’s best man speech was the best I’ve ever heard! He hadn’t rehearsed in front of me so I was nervous for him…turns out he’s a natural!!

Everyone agreed it was one of the best speeches they’d heard. Andrew spent the whole time with his head in his hands, turning a dark shade of crimson… Well done Tom! Alfie attended the wedding too and looked absolutely adorable in his little tuxedo :-)

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Body shaming???? What the??? This appears to be some new craze – in which all participants are clearly very sad, bitter, twisted people with waaaaay too much time on their hands. These pathetic little critters sit at home on their laptops (because they have no friends I’m guessing) slating people’s bodies.

Recent targets include Serena Williams and Selena Gomez… I just don’t get it??? Firstly what right does anyone have to be judgemental or negative about anyone else’s body?? Secondly the irony of it all?? Both girls are SO beautiful!

We are all different, we ALL have body hang ups, in a world filled with stick-thin, air brushed models pushed in our faces every day – when we do see someone with a normal healthy figure we now appear to be repelled??

We are ALL beautiful!! What you may see as ‘imperfect ‘ someone else may wish for. Each time I moan about the size of my thighs or backside I remind myself that some people don’t have legs or can’t walk – so what if I’ve got junk in my trunk?! And let’s be honest – all that really matters is that you can love and BE loved. And that includes loving yourself!

I’m no hypocrite- I’m not quite there yet, but the older I get the more I appreciate all my blessings. Which includes my strong and healthy body- the greatest gift we can ask for right? Do not let ‘haters’ tell you what is beautiful and what isn’t.

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Pity these people , in fact – say a little prayer for them! That they may one day learn the value of good health and real beauty. That they will one day be happy enough with themselves and their own mental state to not bring other people down. Bless them- what empty lives they must lead.

On a more positive note! My first week back at Corrie has been wonderful. I’ve missed that place so much! So lovely to see my Corrie family!

Ironically Eva has been hitting the gym too! She’s pretty lame though! She tends to jog for two minutes then necks a can of an energy drink!

Here’s me as Eva with one of my favourite directors – Mr Lee Salisbury!

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I’ve been chatting all things ‘Superfoods’ with specialists @kaizenliving this week, with so many people classing different foods as ‘Superfoods’, I asked these guys for their true top 5 and why. I’ve covered some of these wonderful foods before – they really are SUPER!! :

@KAIZENLIVING:

‘Superfoods’ is very much a buzzword at the moment & in my opinion it’s one that is perhaps used a little too frequently to describe certain foods. To me a ‘superfood’ is a food that is bursting in goodness – whether that be vitamins, minerals, nutrients, protein, anti-oxidants – I think it should be abnormally high to truly earn that ‘superfood’ title! I’m going to very quickly tell you about 5 of my favourite superfoods and what indeed makes them super!

1) Acai – This is an incredible berry indigenous to the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil. The Acai berry has become incredibly popular in places such as California where many of Hollywood’s finest along with the likes of David Beckham are regularly spotted eating their morning Acai Smoothie Bowls! Well it’s with good reason! The Acai berry contains more antioxidants than any other fruit on the planet, around 20 times more than blueberries in fact. It’s a fantastic energy booster & is incredibly good at helping to promote healthy hair, skin & nails! Not only that but it is high in calcium so great for aiding healthy teeth & bones! Acai is perfect mixed in smoothies and breakfast bowls!

2) Cacao – We often get told that dark chocolate is good for us & the reason for that is down to one thing only – it is higher in raw cacao than milk chocolate & raw cacao is a true superfood! It has the highest antioxidant content of any food on the planet! Even more than the aforementioned acai berry! So it is truly amazing at taking toxins out of our bodies. It also helps to regulate our blood sugar & is high in fibre, magnesium, iron, potassium and copper! Raw cacao can be used to create healthy chocolate flavoured smoothies, healthy hot chocolate drinks & can be used to replace regular cocoa powder in baking!

3) Chia Seeds – “Chia” is actually the Mayan word for ‘strength’ and it’s easy to see why as these little fellas pack an almighty punch! They are packed full of goodness. In fact they contain approximately 15 x more magnesium than broccoli, approximately 5 x more calcium than cow’s milk and around 3 x more iron than spinach! Not only that but they also increase the feeling of fullness so they’re great for anyone looking to lose a few pounds. They have also been shown to help lower cholesterol levels & are a fantastic source of sustainable energy. Chia Seeds can be used in smoothies, baking, sprinkled on yoghurts or get creative & soak them overnight to create your own chia breakfast pot! You can even just add them to a bottle of water to drink throughout the day!

4) Spirulina – In my opinion spirulina is the true king of superfoods. Containing over 60% pure protein and around 80 vitamins, minerals & nutrients spirulina has been described as the most complete food on the planet… in fact NASA even use it as a food for their astronauts in space! There is no food on the planet that has a higher protein content than spirulina & not only that but it is an extremely absorbable source for the body, around 4 x more absorbable than from beef.

Spirulina contains 18 amino acids, including all the essentials making it great for people leading an active lifestyle and a wonderful source of protein & amino acids for vegans. It is packed full of chlorophyll meaning it is great at ridding the body of toxins & perfect for anyone looking to increase their alkalinity levels. It is also high in iron, vitamins B6 & B12, calcium and magnesium! Being an algae, spirulina is a bit of an acquired taste, however it can easily be mixed in with smoothies & vegetable juices. It is also widely available in tablet format but watch the ingredients on these, many use bulking/caking agents in their tablets, try to purchase ones where the ingredients are simply 100% pure spirulina.

5) Wheatgrass – Another superfood that is absolutely brilliant at ridding the body of toxins. So many people swear by their “wheatgrass shots” the morning after the night before & their is science behind this too. Wheatgrass is great at cleansing the liver of toxins and assisting that recovery process. It is also a great natural energy booster so makes for a perfect way to start the day right! It contains 19 amino acids, and has a calcium content that is around 11 x higher than cow’s milk! It is high in iron, copper & zinc as well as vitamin E! Not only that but it is also a great alkaliser & immunity booster! Start the day right by taking wheatgrass as either a morning shot with just water or a small amount of fresh juice or mix in to your smoothies & juices!

As with many other foods, all superfoods are at their best when they are organic & 100% pure!

Also had the opportunity last week, to wear another stunning dress!

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Designed by my gorgeous friend Nadine Merabi- the dress will be auctioned off with all proceeds going to the wonderful charity ‘Mind’ . You too can help by donating here:

http://www.mind.org.uk

Until Next Week Campers!
Stay Happy, Stay Healthy and Dream BIG

Love

Auntie Cath
Xxx

17 July
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Eva The Diva, First Aid and Stepping it Up!!

Twas my first week back at work on Monday I have missed Weatherfield SO much – more than I realised!
I was so nervous about going back to work after being a full- time mummy for a while. It’s so hard having to leave Alfie, but I’m VERY lucky as my mum, Alfie’s lovely grandma is his full time nanny as well. Which is incredibly reassuring. She’s the BEST mum in the world!

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So I can’t think of anyone better for the job! Not to mention the fact she adores him and spoils him rotten. I only live 10 minutes from ITV, so I get to go home at lunch time and sometimes for several hours in between scenes. Which again – is very lucky, especially whilst my ‘Little Pickle’ is so young.

Eva has some fab scenes coming up – I can’t wait for you guys to see them!! It’s been so lovely to see my Corrie co-stars too, especially my lovely ‘Sis’ Jane Danson, I always feel extremely lucky to work closely with Jane – she’s such a wonderful and giving actress.

– First Aid Rapped Up!
I’m delighted to announce my support for the British Red Cross ‘First Aid Rapped Up’ campaign, which launches this week with a brilliant TV ad, and video of babies and toddlers rapping first aid advice to parents.

When I first became pregnant with Alfie, doing a first aid course was on the top of my to-do list. If becoming a parent doesn’t give you the incentive to do a first aid course I don’t know what will! Toddlers and children are always getting in to scrapes; whether they’re falling off their scooters or mistaking liqui-tabs for colourful sweets, and I wanted to be prepared.

So me and my mum, Janet, jumped at the chance to do the Red Cross baby and child first aid course. My mum looks after Alfie a lot, so we both went along armed with loads of questions.

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If any of you have thought about doing a first aid course but have felt intimidated by the thought of it – don’t be! We had an absolutely lovely trainer called Tracey, who was just brilliant. She made us feel totally at ease from the beginning, allowing us to choose particular areas of concern and guiding us through them step-by-step.

There is nothing difficult about learning first aid. Most of the time it is just common sense but one of the best things about the course is it gives you the confidence to do something, if you need to.

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It’s practical too; designed to help you make use of everyday items around the home. So, if you’re child suffers a bad cut, you can grab a t-shirt or towel and apply pressure to the wound. And who knew that cling-film was useful for more than just wrapping your sarnies? If your child suffers a scold or burn you can also use it to keep the burn clean, after running it under cold water for ten mins of course!

The course also dispelled a few old-wives tales. My mum was under the impression that a slab of butter was good for a burn but Tracey was quick to set her straight!

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According to the Red Cross, 65 per cent of parents wish they had done a first aid course before they became a parent. If you’re one of those 65 per cent or you’re expecting your first child, I would thoroughly recommend the Red Cross first aid course. Alternatively, download the baby and child first aid app for an interactive guide on how to tackle life’s emergencies. It’s quick, it’s easy to use and it could save your child’s life.”

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This week I’ve asked Glenn Parker to explain how to perform a ‘step Up’ correctly. Weighted or unweighted – they’re a big part of my workout great for those pins and booty!!
@GPTransformer:
The Step Up

There is a few variations of the movement you can do. But today I’m going to show you a basic step-up. It’s actually a compound movement performed unilaterally. The major muscles involved are Quads, Hamstrings and Glutes and because it is performed on one leg it will require stabilisation and so that’s how you will get the minor muscle groups involved as well such as the adductors and abductors. So what ever level you start from. For an exercise with fat loss benefits and leg strength. It’s an excellent exercise to use.
1. Stand with one leg roughly 90 degrees on the platform, depending on your ability (you can start lower)
2. The other leg has its foot flat with toes risen. With an upright posture.
3. Then slightly lean forward on the step and drive down with the elevated foot
4. As you drive the leg down onto the platform the foot on the floor will rise bringing your feet parallel with each other.
5. Stand with an upright posture
6. Keeping the working leg on the platform.
7. Slowly under control lower the foot back to the floor.
8. Stand with an upright posture.
9. Repeat the process.
10. Tip. Like shown is to slam the working foot into the platform. Which sets up an initiation for the exercise.
11. Tip. Toes are risen on the floor as it stops any additional push from the non working leg.

See You Next Week Campers!

Stay happy, stay healthy and dream big!

12 July
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Personal trainers and work trip to Cyprus

Cyprus

I have been filming in Cyprus this week with ITV’s This Morning. It was a wonderful experience and what a beautiful country! I’ll definitely go back! My trip has inspired this week’s recipe as the food was just wonderful! Lots of grilled meats and tonnes of seafood! Paleo heaven!!

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PTs

I’m a huge advocate of looking to experts in terms of your health and fitness. When I say ‘expert ‘ I don’t mean the local ‘juice head’ . Just because someone is ‘pumped up’ or in good shape, doesn’t mean they know what they’re talking about. I’ve come across plenty of personal trainers who don’t. ALWAYS check your PT’s qualifications.

There are a LOT of ‘blaggers’ out there unfortunately. I had a PT approach me once and tell me that I should follow a fruit juice diet and do aerobics three times a week… Apparently the weight would ‘drop off’…

It’s quite worrying that gyms employ these people. Braun doesn’t always mean brains!

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Check their fitness qualifications and check what nutrition training they have had. Most importantly, the more you educate yourself, the more you’ll see through any bull! You wouldn’t ask someone with an interest in medicine to perform an operation right?!

Same principle. You only get one body! Also, chose a PT who motivates you, helps you set and most importantly achieve goals on a regular basis. Goals should be reassessed every so often and a great PT won’t just be there for you at the gym – they’ll be there at the end of the phone when you need that extra support or advice. There really are some awesome trainers out there, that achieve amazing results – it’s worth investing. Just check the label before you buy.

I will be training with the brilliant Nick Mitchell soon, who has a proven track record with getting his clients amazing results.

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Skin and the sun 

Before my trip to Cyprus I consulted skin care and make-up expert Armand Beasley. I always wear factor 50 on my face and 30 on my body when on holiday but there are lots of other things you can do to protect yourself in the sun!

It’s important to know your facts when it comes to protecting you and your family from the sun whilst still being able to enjoy it, so here are a few Safety In The Sun tips:

– Did you know that sunlight is made up of 95 per cent UVA (ageing) rays whilst only 5 per cent are UVB (burning) rays?

– Apply a generous amount of sunscreen and don’t forget to reapply every 1 to 2 hours, no matter how high the factor… and don’t forget areas like the bridge of the nose, ears and feet.

– Avoid prolonged sun exposure when the sun is at its strongest (usually between 12 and 4pm). This can vary though depending on your destination, so check with your holiday rep as to when the sun is at its most intense.

– Start with a higher SPF for the first couple of days of your holiday so that your skin can get used to the sun.

– Know what level of protection you are getting! For example, an SPF 30 will protect you from 97% of the UVB rays whilst a SPF 15 will protect you from around 93 per cent. There is only 1 per cent difference in protection between factor 50 and factor 30!

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– Be aware that the level of protection from UVA rays is now indicated in the UK by either the ‘star rating system’ with some brands or it says Broad Spectrum. Do not go for less than a 4 star as it’s important to have high protection against UVA as these can cause premature ageing and skin damage.

– If you’re fair skinned then be aware that even in the shade, 40 per cent of UV radiation can still reach you.

– Make sure that your sunglasses have a broad spectrum sun filter too! The eye area is 40% finer than the rest of the skin so make sure you look after it.

– Chaps… if you’re a little thin on ‘top’ then invest in a good high factor, broad spectrum sunscreen and reapply frequently.

Here’s my Cypriot Potato salad – its GORGEOUS! Don’t forget to tweet me your pics if you make it!!

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Cath’s Cypriot Spud Salad (paleo)

4 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed and diced

1 large red onion, halved and thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, sliced

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

400g tin chopped tomatoes

Sea salt and black pepper

1 bunch fresh oregano or flat leaf parsley

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

250g baby spinach

100g feta cheese

Place the potatoes in a pan and cover with salted water then bring to the boil and simmer for 4 minutes until tender then drain and cool. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan and fry the potatoes until golden. Remove from the pan and set aside. Fry the onions, garlic and spices until lightly golden. Place the potatoes back in the pan with the onions and add the tomatoes. Cook on a high heat to reduce the tomatoes slightly for about 3 minutes then add the spinach. Remove from the heat straight away and gently toss the spinach so that it just wilts then add the vinegar and some of the chopped oregano or parsley. Pour into a serving dish then crumble the feta cheese on top, sprinkle some olive oil, black pepper and more fresh herbs Perfect with a BBQ!!

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See ya next week!

Stay happy, stay healthy and dream BIG!

Auntie Cath

xxx

03 July
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Spinning and Mr & Mrs!

In a Spin!

Weight training and HIT training are my main forms of exercise, as most of you know (I bang on about them enough) but I do like to mix things up! I don’t really do much ‘steady state cardio’ as it isn’t optimal for fat loss.

Thats not to say it won’t improve your fitness – it will! I just reap better benefits from weight training and high intensity workouts.

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Pretty simple equation in my eyes – the more lean muscle mass you have = the more fat you burn. I have been dubious about ‘Spinning Classes’ in the past, as I’ve been to some before – yes I burnt calories, but that was it – simple cardio.

But I headed over to the ‘Spin Factory’ in Manchester this week, where, I have to say – I was certainly put through my paces! I did a high intensity class for 30 mins, great for fat burning!

Lots of spin-classes are starting to introduce weights and resistance bands now too – to give more of a full body workout.

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Mentally I felt the benefit after just one class, as the dance music leaves you feeling pretty pumped and euphoric – nothing better than a natural high!

As I always say, fitness isn’t just physical either- its a wonderful for mental health, it releases happy hormones – if you enjoy it – DO IT.

Knowledge is power

Also this week I have started studying again for my nutrition course, its been on hold since Alfie was born, but as I’ve said in the past – The more I learn – the more I can share with you guys!!

I think there are far too many people giving out advice that have zero qualifications to do so! I’m amazed at some of the ‘advice’ I read in magazines/on DVD’s. I work with a great team of experts, so if I don’t know something – I find out.

One needs to be so careful these days – with countless books and DVDs being endorsed by various familiar faces, its hard to know who actually knows what they’re talking about – if you’re unsure with regards to training or nutrition – speak to an expert!! You only get one body – invest! As always with your tweets – if I don’t know the answer – I’ll always endeavour to find out!

You can tweet me with your questions @cath_tyldesley

Mr & Mrs

Tom and I recorded ‘Mr & Mrs’ this week – I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much!! I can’t wait for you guys to see the show. Phillip Schofield was on top form as always – this fab new series has some great guests and we were lucky enough to be in great company with Matt Dawson and Tinchy Stryder and their lovely partners.

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We all had a scream – I’ll be sure to let you all know the transmission date when I find out!!

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Here’s one of Tom’s Fave recipes! Always the way to his heart when I fancy a new pair of shoes ;-)

Teriyaki Steak

Ingredients

• 1 lb flank or round steak, cut in thin strips

• 2-3 heads of fresh broccoli

• 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced

• Beef Marinade Ingredients

• 2 tbs coconut aminos

• 1/2 tsp sesame oil

• 1 tsp fresh grated ginger

• Salt & pepper

• Teriyaki Sauce Ingredients

• 1/2 cup coconut aminos

• 1/2 cup raw honey

• 1/4 cup juice from fresh oranges

• 2 tbs rice vinegar

• 1 tsp arrowroot flour

• 1 tbs fresh grated ginger

• 1-2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced

• 1 tbs sesame oil

• Pinch of red pepper flakes

• In a small bowl, whisk together coconut aminos, sesame oil and ginger. Season beef strips with salt and pepper. Place seasoned beef in plastic bag, pour in marinade, seal and refrigerate while making the teriyaki sauce below

Teriyaki Sauce

Combine all above teriyaki ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat, When mixture begins to boil, stir for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat. Blanche broccoli 2-3 minutes. Slice the bell pepper. In a large frying pan over medium high heat, cook marinated beef 3-5 minutes stirring frequently until meat is no longer pink. Add teriyaki sauce, broccoli, and bell pepper to the saucepan – cook for another 2-3 minutes. Serve hot and enjoy

I have an exciting week ahead – can’t wait to share with you next week!

Dream big

love Cath xxx

24 June
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Alfie’s First Holiday and Zesty Green Tea!

What a glorious week I’ve had! Not one to gloat… but go on then, I will. I’ve been sunning myself in Portugal for a week :-)

A much needed holiday for this new ‘Parental Unit’!

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It was little Alfie’s first time on a plane/abroad and what a trooper he was. He grinned and giggled his way through the flights and loved being in Portugal.

On our first day there it was very windy – windy, he did NOT like! He couldn’t catch his breath so couldn’t understand what was happening, It was rather cute. I prayed the wind would calm down so we didn’t have to stay indoors/glue wind-breakers to the buggie! And it did. From then on, weather was glorious!

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I’m pleased to say Alfie is such a water baby :-) He loves the pool.

It was such a different holiday now that we have Alfie. We used to simply sunbathe for eight hours then I’d spend a while ‘dolling’ myself up and Tom would take me for dinner…

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Now we’re in the shade, singing nursery rhymes and I just about remembered to shave my legs before going to dinner!

My suitcase – prior to Alfie – was a Mecca to make-up, sun shimmer and heels… Now it’s full of nappies and comfy shoes. How times have changed and we love every second :-)

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Of course I still went to the gym! #standard.

I’ve lost a stone of baby weight thus far, with a stone still to lose. I’d like to say it’s ‘dropping off’… It’s not… It’s bloody hard work! Your hormones alter massively after having a baby, which can make weight loss quite slow initially.

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But I love keeping fit and feeling strong – it gives me so much more energy and focus.

And if Alfie is anything like mummy and daddy – I’m gonna need that energy to keep up with the little tyke!

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Whilst on holiday I did a combination of swimming and weight training with a couple of beach runs – what a beautiful setting to train in :-)

(Plus I felt less guilty about the cheeky sangrias!)

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I find maintaining my paleo lifestyle really easy on holiday – as the fish and salads are always delicious, I live on fish and greens most of the week with a couple of cheat meals – like I always say , it’s all about balance.

Being on holiday isn’t an excuse to fill your body with toxic rubbish – its never worth it!

When we returned from holiday, we celebrated Fathers Day – Tom’s first one! I bumped into the lovely Ryan Thomas and Scarlett along the way, alongside Adam Thonas and Bruno Langley with their children!

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It was lovely to join them in a bevy to celebrate dads! My Popsicle is awesome – Alfie and I paid him a visit that evening, best dad in the land :-)

Whilst the sun is here (for all of 5 minutes no doubt!), check out this lush summer drink from my pals @nakeddeli – we made it this week- uber refreshing!

Zesty Green Ice Tea:

Stew two organic green tea bags in approx 500ml hot water, add one teaspoon of coconut sugar & leave for at least 15 mins ( longer if you’d prefer). Take a large glass and rub the rim with lemon, & dip in coconut sugar. Fill glass with ice, lemon & lime, and pour over the green tea. Garnish with fresh mint!

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Dream Big

lots of love

Cath xxx

17 June
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Mindfulness & Summer Yumminess!

It will be Toms first Fathers Day this weekend :) I love Fathers Day and Mothers Day –  a chance to honour our parents for all they’ve done – Lord knows mine deserve it! As does Tom.

So ahead of Sunday – Happy Fathers Day to all you daddy’s out there! But especially to my Tom – you’ve made me the happiest girl in the land and you are the most wonderful father to our beautiful son Alfie.

We are both truly blessed to have you!

We’ll be spoiling Tom rotten on Sunday, as well as both our dads!

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STRESS – one of the biggest killers around. Too much stress can lead to all kinds of ailments. We all know that life seems to be passing us by at 100mph, yes? Well there are ways we can slow things down.

“I don’t have time to slow down”, I hear you say. Well – make time! You are not superman/woman. Stress will eventually take its toll on your body in some way. Me for example? When I am stressed, I can’t sleep and my IBS usually flares up. I sometimes get migraines too.

Stress will find sneaky ways of manifesting – whether you’re aware of it or not. I have recently started to look into something called Mindfulness. I have been avoiding Mindfulness for sometime, dismissing this new ‘cool craze’ as the latest ‘hippy fad’.  Oh how wrong it seems I was!

Mindfulness is starting to be a real eye opener. Since my son Alfie came along, it’s like someone pressed fast forward on my life. Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present.

When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience. In short – it’s taking the time to smell those bloody roses!!

Look around you! Observe your surroundings – how beautiful do the flowers look? How green is that grass? How delightful is the look of wonder on a child’s face when they discover something new? It’s about appreciation and gratitude. Slowing down a little – to savour moments and paint that memory firmly on your mind’s canvas.

It sounds so simple and obvious but you’d be amazed how many of us just don’t do it. Too busy running about or pratting around with our mobile phones when we could be having a wonderful conversation or looking out of the window instead of down at your phone!

Try it this week. Enjoy the little things! I promise you it makes a difference AND helps to lower stress levels!

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In other news, I had a meeting with our lovely producer at Corrie this week, to find out what will be happening for ‘Eva The Diva’ when I go back.

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Hold onto your hats guys! She’s back with a bang!

I’m going to be pretty busy by the sounds of it- I can’t wait! Really missed those cobbles and my Corrie family :-)

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Check out this awesome recipe from my pals @nakeddeli – we made this last week. Boy are you in for a treat!!!

Absolutely stunning, nutritious and Paleo friendly! #winner

Seared Asian Tuna with fresh Kohlrabi & Apple Salad: serves 2

Ingredients for the salad:

1 large kohlrabi cut into match sticks

2 apples cut into match sticks

1 green pepper finely sliced

2 green chillis diced

2cm ginger cut into match sticks

1 cucumber peeled into ribbons 1

/2 white onion finely sliced.

 

Ingredients for the dressing:

50ml GF tamarind

100ml white wine vinegar

2 limes juice & zest

2 tablespoon coconut sugar

200ml organic extra virgin olive oil

2 good quality tuna steaks

2 tablespoon Chinese

5 spice

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon salt&pepper

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Directions:

1. combine all dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisk.

2. combine all salad ingredients pour dressing over mixing well and leave in fridge for 30 minutes.

3. coat tuna steaks in cayenne pepper, 5 spice & salt & pepper.

4. add 2 tablespoons of coconut oil to a very hot pan & sear tuna for about 1 minute on each side, tuna should have a nice crust but still be rare in the middle.

5. allow the tuna to rest for five to ten mins before slicing into thin strips.

6. plate salad from the fridge, dress with sliced tuna & garnish with fresh coriander & pea shoots- enjoy!

This refreshing fresh salad is perfect for a hot summers evening!

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See you next week! Stay happy , stay healthy and Dream BIG!!

12 June
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Burgers, Babies and Feeling ‘The Burn’!

My gorgeous pal Becky came round for a BBQ the other day. She has two beautiful twin girls – Ellie and Lily, age 5.

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Becky and I have been coming up with fun recipes for girls over the past few weeks. They LOVE to cook with mummy and its so important to encourage healthy, fun meals from an early age. Lily and Ellie love fruit and veg, which is a good start!

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So this week Tom and I made so gorgeous Greek Lamb burgers with the girls. Its a fave recipe of ours, and the kids love to help make them. With plenty of bright colours in the salad and heart shaped burgers – we made their plates more appealing!

Greeky Lamb Burgers!

1kg Lean Minced lamb

3 Garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 egg

1 red onion

1 cup of feta cheese, cut into small cubes

Handful of fresh coriander

Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix together with your hands. Shape into burger (or use shapers for kids e.g heart shaped burgers), and throw on the BBQ until cooked through – its THAT simple!! We love ours with an olive salad and a big fat dollop of hummus!

Baby Bit

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been looking more at ‘Baby Sensory’. We are taking Alfie to Baby Sensory classes soon, but its also important that there is plenty of stimulus at home. This doesn’t have to cost a fortune either! There are plenty of fantastic baby-bouncers/play mats etc – second hand, in really good condition, that you can buy for a fraction of the price. Its all about textures, colours and noises at the moment – Alfie for example is fascinated with the sound of my hair-dryer and adores anything with bright lights. He now makes a grab for my phone if I’m faffing with it in front of him. We also sing lots of nursery rhymes everyday …okay , okay – I probably enjoy that more than he does! But it all helps to aid his development… There are plenty of free/really cheap classes available for babies that offer a range of stimulus in most areas- worth a Google!

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Happy Three Month Birthday Alfie!!!! 12 weeks! Where the hell has that time gone?? Alfie isn’t quite sleeping through yet. But he’s slowly getting there. He sleeps in 3-4 hour blocks so we can’t complain! On occasion he sleeps 5-6 hours!! I’ll be bringing you some great baby-sleeping tips very soon – as I’m picking the brains of sleep specialist Abigail Thompson (Aka – ‘The Baby Whisperer!”) on what we can do to help the little cherub give us the shut-eye we crave!!

Now then…Acupuncture! Scary word hey? I had my first session this week! Yup- I took the plunge!! I carry lots of tension in my shoulders and neck and at the moment my legs too! The strain of all the extra weight during my pregnancy and recently upping my game at the gym has given me quite a few muscle knots to put it mildly.. Although I stretch after training and aim to have regular sports massage – I’ve still been in pain.

Acupuncture can benefit in so many ways, and apparently for lots of different ailments. Research suggests it can help with problems such as – back ache, muscular injuries and strains, insomnia, migraine, arthritis and IBS to name just a few.

I also discovered that Acupuncture can help expectant mums throughout their pregnancies,with issues such as morning sickness! (Wish I’d known that 9 months ago!) It can even be used during labour…although I’m not sure I’d have appreciated all those needles at such a time! Its something I’m going to research more, and continue with – so I’ll keep you posted! (If the next time you see me on the telly, I’m full of holes you know why! ;-) Acupuncture was followed by a gorge facial and catch up with spa puppy Dexter! (my foster dog!)! I’ve missed Dexter loads and can’t wait for him to meet Alfie.

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I’ve done a few sessions with my other half this week - fitness expert @TP_PTFITNESS. I’d like to say he went easy on me – but he’s was pretty brutal!! Talk about feeling the burn! Here’s one of his killer exercises! You’ll ache like hell – but its ace for the hamstrings!

Tom Pitfield:

“Exercise

Back Extension / hyper extension

Muscle Group

Hamstrings / Lower back

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How

• Using either a flat or 45-degree hyper extension bench, hook your ankles firmly under the supports and arch your back slightly.

• Cross your arms on your chest and lean forward until you are in danger of rounding your back, then straighten back up.

• Never bounce out of the bottom and do not allow your hips to come up off of the pad

• For extra resistance you can hold a weight plate on your chest or behind your head.

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Why

Great for strengthening hamstrings, I would use this exercise along side Romanian dead lifts and a lying leg curl. Rep range depending on what you are wanting to achieve.”

Stay Happy, stay healthy and dream BIG!

Love,

Auntie Cath

04 June
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Wedding Bliss, A Smashing Gig and Jerkin’ Around with Chicken!

We had a fab start to the week when we attended the amazing showcase for Carolynne Poole (@CarolynnePoole)

cath-1Myself with Tom, gorgeous Natalie from Emmerdale and her hubbie!

 

I’ve been a huge fan of Carolynne’s since she hit our screens as an X Factor contestant a few years back. She has such a unique sound and I love the idea of merging pop with country – there’s such a gap in the market for this sort of music. The gig was fabulous, well organised and Carolynne was on top form – as always.

cath-2Me with my friend Becky

 

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cath-8 Carolynne on stage

 

Great vocal ability, great band, great turn out and great songs? What’s not to love?! Great to see another Northern lass doing so well and doing what she loves :-)

 

cath-4Red carpet!

 

HUGE congratulations to Michelle Keegan and Mark Wright, who tied the knot last weekend. We were unable to attend the spectacular wedding due to other commitments, Michelle totally understood but I was gutted not to see my lovely friend get wed. I do miss our lovely ‘Keegs’.

How amazing did she look? (No surprise there!)

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Let’s be honest – that girl would look good in a bin bag… after being dragged through a hedge… twice… at 3 in the morning. And Mark looked fab too! Can you imagine their children?!

They’ll look like a ‘catalogue family’! After reading their big wedding interview I was utterly thrilled for them – it seems they had an absolute fairytale of a day! Well done you gorgeous pair!

As the sun puts his hat on (FINALLY!) Alfie and I have been enjoying some gorgeous ‘power walks’. Regular walking, like most aerobic activities, is great in terms of cardio-vascular exercise. It strengthens the heart and lungs, and increases fitness. Not to mention the two biggest perks – spending time with Alfie in the countryside!

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We walked for about 45 minutes then had ourselves a little picnic :-) Milk for the boy and jerk chicken salad for mummy – perfect! We lay in the sun for a while, plenty of giggles and dribble, then walked the 45 mins back to the car – which was all uphill! Great for those glutes, guys!

Exercise doesn’t have to be a chore and you don’t have to lose time with your baby – you really can enjoy it together. And all that fresh country air is great for baby! Although Alfie appeared totally confused by the cows!

I LOVE food with a ‘kick’ and lots of flavour so I’ve given you guys my recipe for jerk Chicken below:

Preheat the oven to 200.

In a small bowl, mix together the spices.

Cut the chicken breasts into strips.

Add the spice mix along with 1tbsp of the oil to the chicken.

Mix well and put to one side for 10 minutes.

Heat the remaining oil in a large, non-stick frying pan over very high heat.

When the oil is very hot, add the chicken.

Stir-fry quickly until the pieces are lightly browned then place chicken pieces into a baking dish, and cover loosely with tin foil and bake for 8 – 10 minutes until the chicken is cooked.

Gorgeous with salad! We enjoy it cold too when we have leftovers!

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SUPER SNACK ALERT!

One of the main reason’s people fail when trying to eat healthy is the wrong type of snacks! Snacking is important to keep our energy and metabolism at a good level – but it’s important to eat the right snack!

As a new mum, I’ve noticed the importance of this more than ever. One of my favourite snacks is walnuts! High in protein and with good fats as well as boosting your energy and being full of antioxidants!

And get this, walnuts contain a compound called melatonin which helps us sleep too – a big YES for new parents!!

Until next week campers!

Stay happy, stay healthy and DREAM BIG!

29 May
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Alfie takes a dip and top tummy tips

This week, Tom, my mum Janet and I, enjoyed a ‘baby massage’ workshop with the lovely Beverley Hingham.

It was Alfie’s first taste of massage – he LOVED it!

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I have to say, I found it uber relaxing too. At this early stage, Beverley recommends either sunflower oil, olive oil, coconut oil or calendula oil. Various essential oils should only be introduced when your child is older.

Massage is such a gorgeous way for you to spend time and bond with your baby. Massage can soothe your baby and help baby to sleep (and that SO has to be worth a shot!!) Baby massage has many benefits including improving weight gain, helping digestion, improving circulation, and easing teething pain.

One study found that massage in the early days could help newborns to recover from jaundice more quickly. Don’t massage straight after a feed or just before, that way their little bellies won’t be too full or too empty. We learnt that it’s important to maintain eye-contact and work from the feet upwards, so not to startle younger babies and give them reassurance.

Gradually build on massage time, 15minutes is a good starting time. There are certain points on babies feet that are very sensitive (reflexology-wise), so massaging feet in a clockwise motion can help if baby is consitpated for example. Be careful not to over-stimulate younger babies though.

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Tom really enjoyed it too – I think this is a lovely way for dads to bond with baby. Some dads feel a little ‘left out’ if they’re at work all day, especially if mum is breastfeeding exclusively – this could be dad’s ‘special bond’ with baby. We’re going to keep it up, it was a relaxing time for all of us. Give it a go! Light some candles, download some relaxation music and chill as a family whilst baby enjoys a lovely massage :-)

Alfie had his first swim this week – cuteness overload!

He was a little unsure for all of five minutes- then he loved it!

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It was so lovely watching him take it all in.

Tom and I love the water so it’s important to get Alfie started young.

I think feeling comfortable in the water from a young age makes such a difference once your child starts swimming lessons. Confidence is key!

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Big happy birthday to my beautiful mum Janet!

We had a fab time celebrating.

Alfie was fuming he wasn’t old enough for chocolate cake!

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I’ve been in touch with UP Fitness trainer Glenn Parker (GPTransformer) this week. I’ve had a lot of tweets from new mums asking that age old question “how do I get my tummy back?”

Firstly – STOP beating yourselves up! Your tummy has just done a VERY important job! It’s entitled to a break! When you feel ready to start building that strength back up, it’s important to do it properly.

Fitness expert Glenn offers us his guidance below:

“Many female gym goers want to get back into the gym ASAP after the birth of their child. They will want to have that pre-baby body back and still look better. But during pregnancy and after nine months of complete change around the mid-section. After the birth it’s important to start to strengthen muscles around that area.

“The internal abdominals will need time to return to that pre-pregnancy state. So doing those 100 sit ups will not help and could in the end cause more damage. So a corrective exercise programme will need to be put together to start to strengthen what we call those ‘core’ muscles which will build stability, strength and muscle endurance.

“But before you undertake any sort of exercise programme please receive consent from your doctor or health care professional to undertake any exercise. Do this as a circuit working as Shown and 20-40 sec rest before moving on 2-3 times through.”

1. Mini crunch.

This is not your typical ab crunch. Lie onto your back, then try and lift your shoulder blades off the ground. Keeping your head tucked. Your hands should now be sliding along the ground to your feet. This is a tiny movement. The aim is to produce a contraction in the abs. Hold for 3 sec before lower down and repeat

Repeat x 15 counts of 3 x 2-3 sets

2. Novice plank

Three parts to this exercise.

-lie face down on the floor

-prop up on knees and elbows

-position elbows directly underneath the shoulder and maintain a straight posture from heel through to shoulder

-hold for duration of interval and concentrate on squeezing your core musculature

-if more advanced raise knees off floor and stay in a straight line with elbows on floor

Hold for 40 sec-60 sec x 2-3 sets

3. Heels down, one at a time then together

-lie on your back with your knees hip width apart and legs lifted up to 90 degrees (knees are over chest)

-draw belly button in so lower back is flat to the floor at all times

-hands on temples

-lift your head and shoulders off the floor, with a gap between your chin and chest

-slowly lower 1 leg and keep it bent at 90 degrees so that your heel just touches the ground and return to starting position

-ready to pull your lower abs in as you lower your heels to the floor and pull legs back up

When alternate legs x 10-15(each side) if you can then do both do 10-15 again x 2-3 sets

4. Superman

-lie on your stomach and make sure your lower back and hips ate in a stable position

-reach your arms forward and stretch legs out

-from this position. Lift your arms and legs up 2-3 inches off the ground

– hold 3-5 sec then release back to ground.

10-15 lifts x 2/3 sets

5. Glute bridge

-Lie on your back with your feet resting on a bench or a stable chair at around 90 degrees

– relax your arms by your sides and keep your palms face down on the floor

-slowly lift your hips off the floor until your body and thighs form a straight line, squeezing your bottom towards the ceiling. Hold for a couple of seconds

– slowly return to the starting position

-if you want to get more advanced. Hold your body in the straight position and then do alternate leg lifts

10-15 reps x 2/3 sets

6. Squat

-stand shoulder width apart

-initiate the movement by bringing your hips back and down until they reach knee level

-imagine your sitting on a chair

– weight on heels and your lower back flat

-return to start by pushing through heels and stand up

-keep abs squeezed

10-15 reps x 2/3 sets

Thank you Glenn!

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Until next time, my little Health Bunnies!

Stay Happy, Stay Healthy and Dream BIG

Auntie Cath

Xx

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