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25 April
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Climbing Mountains and Eating My way to Awesome skin!

Saturday saw me scaling the heights of Rivington Pike once more.

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We’re still in preparation for our trek across the Breacon Beacons this June.

This time it was a struggle! I had trained the day before so I was already quite achey, and my shoes really started to rub during the descent. But we all made it back in one piece, still smiling and still excited about the next trek.

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As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m really enjoying trekking, it’s something that I’ll continue to do with my family. Great exercise and great fun. Always make sure you carry plenty of water and as we discovered – blister care is imperative! Something else I’d like to flag up is being aware of ‘Ticks’. Ticks are a small insect pretty common in the UK, especially when trekking and walking through vegetation.

They feed on the blood of mammals and unfortunately ticks are carriers of a number of diseases that affect both humans and other animals. The most highlighted disease being ‘Lymes Disease’. If you are bitten by one of these critters, it is SO important to make sure you remove the tick correctly from the skin to help prevent the risk of ‘Lymes Disease’. My friend actually caught Lymes disease form a Tick bite, in the very area we were trekking in at weekend. It really is very important to raise awareness, this disease can be very debilitating. Please read below – especially if you have children that love playing outside:

Removing Ticks

If no tools are available, rather than delay use a cotton thread. Tie a single loop of cotton around the tick’s mouthparts, as close to the skin as possible, then pull upwards and outwards without twisting.

DO start by cleansing the tweezers/tool with antiseptic. After tick removal, cleanse the bite site and the tool with antiseptic.

DO wash hands thoroughly afterwards.

DO save the tick in a container in case a doctor asks for evidence that you have been bitten (label it with date and location). Public Health England is also currently running a scheme to investigate ticks – see below.

DO NOT squeeze the body of the tick, as this may cause the head and body to separate, leaving the head embedded in your skin.

DO NOT use your fingernails to remove a tick. Infection can enter via any breaks in your skin, e.g. close to the fingernail.

DO NOT crush the tick’s body, as this may cause it to regurgitate its infected stomach contents into the bite wound. See this graphic animation of what can happen, courtesy of the Lyme Borreliosis Foundation, Hungary.

DO NOT try to burn the tick off, apply petroleum jelly, nail polish or any other chemical. Any of these methods can cause discomfort to the tick, resulting in regurgitation, or saliva release.”

I had a tweet last week asking my advice of foods for clearer skin. My sister suffered from acne as a teenager. Whenever she approached a doctor they’d send her away with more creams. Cream after cream. Trial after trial. It wasn’t until I told her to read up on some of Dale Pinnock’s work (Medicinal Chef) that she realised, clear skin came from the inside out. You can try all the creams under the sun – if your nutrition is bad – your skin will be bad. Upon changing her diet – surprise, surprise, her skin became crystal clear. Its not rocket science. Eat rubbish – you won’t feel or look great. Make an effort to eat well – you’ll feel great and look awesome! I’m making tonnes of this soup before my wedding, it always gives my skin a glow and clarity!

One of my favourite recipes from Dale, for clear skin:

Clear Skin Recipe Number One
Mean Green Mineralising Machine Soup
This soup is highly potent! It is very green, very strongly flavoured and is also virtually 100 per cent raw! It is a powerful source of minerals, which will do wonders for your skin.

INGREDIENTS:
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 white onion, finely chopped
2 large cucumbers, diced
1 large yellow (bell) pepper, halved, stalk and seeds removed
1 ripe avocado, halved, stone removed
2 handfuls of baby spinach
3 tablespoons curly parsley, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh coriander, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh basil, coarsely chopped
400 ml/14 fl oz/1½ cups approx of extra virgin olive oil

Add a little olive oil to a pan, along with the garlic and the onion, and a good pinch of sea salt. Sauté until the onion has softened. Place all the remaining ingredients in a food processor. Add the sautéed onion and garlic to the food processor. Blend into a thick, vivid green soup. Serves 2-4.

BENEFITS:
Cucumbers
Cucumbers may seem to serve very little nutritional purpose, but they are actually very rich in one of the most important minerals for skin health: silica. This is the mineral that gives cucumbers the thick shiny coating on their skin. Silica helps to support the structure and function of the extracellular matrix, and also supports collagen.

Yellow Peppers
All peppers are antioxidant-rich. Yellow peppers are very high in a flavonoid compound called lutein which is responsible for their vivid yellow colour. Lutein helps protect the fatty membranes of our cells from free radical damage.

Avocados
I hear time and time again people avoiding these super nutritious gifts from nature because they have a high fat content .I cannot stress enough just how important the right types of fat are for the health and appearance of your skin. Avocados are incredibly rich in essential fatty acids that plump up and smooth out the skin. They are also a wonderful source of vitamin E, which helps to protect our skin cells from free radical damage. Vitamin E has a particular affinity for free radicals derived from damaged fats.

Spinach
Spinach is a very rich source of the plant form of vitamin A: beta carotene. It’s another potent antioxidant. There are reasonable levels of vitamin C present too. Spinach is also a great source of magnesium, selenium, and some zinc to boot!

Thankyou Dale! @Dale_Pinnock

This week we said goodbye to our lovely producer Stuart Blackburn. Katie Mglynn, Tisha Merry and I decided to make a night of it. we started out at our pals new salon launch, for giggles and pampering then headed over to media city for an emotional farewell party. We had a great night and Stuart had a fabulous send off. Wishing you all the luck in the world Stuart!

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We’ve had a busy week on the cobbles filming a wedding! I won’t tell you whose wedding… but Eva’s dress is pretty fabulous…she’s gone for a ‘Mancunion Barbie’ look I’d say! Hold onto your hats for this wedding – in true Corrie style – nothing is as it seems!

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I’ll leave you guys hanging with that!

Stay Happy, Stay Healthy and Dream Big

Love Auntie Cath

xxx

18 April
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Me Time and Stress-Busting Grub!!

Sometimes when we stop, we find it hard to start again. Often, I won’t allow myself to sit down because I know if I do chances are I won’t get back up again! That’s not good! My body and mind tell me when I need to slow down or relax, and much of the time, like most people, I ignore it, carrying on regardless.

I became a huge advocate of meditation and Reiki during pregnancy, because I put my baby first I meditated every single day and aimed for a reiki session twice a month. I felt calm, serene and bonded with my unborn child.

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Since Alfie arrived it’s been a different story!! It’s a lot harder to meditate with a one year old child jumping all over you! However this week I indulged in a guilt free reiki session! I packed Alfie off to his grandmas and I spent an hour focussing on what my body and mind needed.

The benefits of reiki and meditation are well documented and I’m going to make a real effort to keep it up now.

The lovely Suzanne Elizebeth came to my home and performed the reiki, I felt so much better afterwards. Sometimes you just need an hour of silence if nothing else! Here Suzanne explains just how helpful it can be:

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Reiki healing is a gentle yet powerful energy used to benefit people in many ways, it works by the practitioner channeling through this beautiful energy to support the client on all levels of their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being.

People tend to feel calmer, refreshed, relaxed & as though a weight has been lifted. It creates clarity of mind, so people feel more focused, confident & empowered.

Regular sessions are life changing for those who suffer with depression, anxiety, insomnia & panic attacks.

Twitter @HolisticCoackUK

We all need a bit of this magic in our lives surely! Especially in times of stress.

Whilst we’re talking about relaxation and helping to combat stress and anxiety, let me chat to you about some fab foods that you should try to include in your daily diet.

Food is our best medicine, it’s our best way of staving off ailments, disease and encouraging a longer, healthier life.

1. Cashews provide the equivalent mood boosting effects as a therapeutic dose of Prozac. They are one of the highest natural sources of tryptophan, which we need for the production of serotonin ( the happy hormone) in the brain.

Blueberries

Many consider blueberries to be a superfood. Rich in vitamins and phytonutrients (plant nutrients), with a variety of antioxidants- uber beneficial for relieving stress.

Almonds

Almonds contain zinc, an important nutrient for keeping a balanced mood – also rich in iron and healthy fats. Healthy fats are an important part of a balanced diet, and low iron levels are known to cause brain fatigue, which can lead to anxiety and a lack of energy.

Oats!!

Oats are another food that help get the calm-inducing hormone serotonin flowing. Coarse oats are higher in fiber and so they take longer to digest which works much better than the instant packet stuff! Which are often full of sugar and other nasties anyway

I LOVE Oats! When I’m looking for good carbs, oats or sweet potato are my first port of call! Here’s a fab recipe for some stress-busting flapjacks! A lovely little treat!

Auntie Caths Stress Busting Flap Jacks

◾100 g coconut oil or butter
◾100 g Manuka Honey
◾150g oats
◾25g shredded coconut
◾50 g dried blueberries
◾2 tsp cinnamon
1.Preheat the oven to 175 ° C.
2.Grease a small baking dish
3.Heat the coconut oil and honey in a large saucepan and stir well. Bring it to a boil then remove from the heat.
4.Mix the oats, coconut, cinnamon and raisins in a bowl separately.
5.Add the oat mix to the pot and stir till it’s all well mixed. The mix will be very crumbly in texture.
6.Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish evenly
7.Use the back of a spoon to press the mixture evenly into the , push pretty hard to give a smooth surface.
8.Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until the oats are golden brown.
9.Remove the from the oven and let flap jacks cool completely in in the baking dish.
10.Once the flapjack is cooled down lift it out onto a cutting board and cut into squares.

Gorgeousness!!!

Thanks for all of the lovely tweets regarding my ‘Hen Do’ pics and interview in last weeks Hello! Magazine. We had an absolute blast, truly one of the best nights out I’ve ever had! Thankyou to all my girls for going to such effort too, you all looked amazing!!

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The Hills Are Alive!!

I’ve been doing lots of hill sprints with Alfie this week – an ideal, quick workout when you’re pushed for time. I put Alfie in his buggy and we head out for a walk. Whilst on our walk, I head for a big hill near where we live. I sprint up the hill as fast as I can, whilst pushing Alfie. Alfie and the buggy are no lightweight – this provides great resistance. Then I walk back down the hill, talking around 40 seconds to let my heart rate recover. I then repeat this 10 times (more if Ive had a coffee!). Its a great little HIIT session and Alfie loves it too! Were only out walking and sprinting for around 30 minuets so its great when you’re pushed for time. Then we head to the park on the way back, mummy has a chia seed & greens shake while Alfie plays on the park – both winning!!

Stay Happy Stay Healthy and Dream BIG!!

Love

08 April
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Trolls, Training and Treks!

It’s not often that something REALLY gets my back up. This week however I was shocked to find that those little internet trolls have been at it again. This time their target was Sarah George a young, beautiful actress that plays Celine MQueen in ‘Hollyoaks’ a girl that is happy, healthy, active and more importantly – doing what she loves. These nasty little critters took to social media to bizarrely comment on Sarah’s normal, beautiful figure. Sarah’s reply to these trolls was perfect – I couldn’t have said it better myself.

So trolls, whilst Sarah is generally having an awesome life… What are you up to??? Sat at home, wallowing in your own bitter, twisted, self-pity… behind a laptop… with nothing better to do than write hurtful comments about people you don’t know… Brave that isn’t it?

I think it’s pretty clear whose winning at life here. Grow up. And for the love of God – life is too short – so get up of your nasty negative backsides and go get YOURSELF a life.

Do we really want to see our screens filled with size zero actresses, with about as much facial expression and energy as a flip-flop?! I bloody don’t!! Don’t we all rejoice when we see a celeb pictured on the beach looking ‘normal’ ?? I know I do! I’m like ‘Oooh look! She has a cute little mum-tum like me’. It makes us accept ourselves- we somehow join in union with that person as we flick the pages of our glossy’s. Cellulite? Normal! Stretch marks? Normal! Lose skin after weight loss or children? Normal! Sweaty hair and sand on your bum after a day on the beach? Normal! Bloating after having some well-deserved treats and cocktails by the pool? Normal!!

Stop shaming and try a bit of positivity in your life – you get back whatever you give out, that much I can promise you! Rant over!

 

I had the BEST weekend!! It was my hen do! I can’t believe how close I am to finally being ‘Mrs Pitfield’ eeeek!!! You can catch exclusive pictures and an interview in next week’s weeks HELLO! magazine. We had a BLAST!! I can tell you all about it in the next blog.

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I’ve been training with @stevechambersPT (aka ‘Evil Steve) for a couple of weeks whilst my trainer @MattWarnerPT has been over in LA. I’d like to say he took it easy on me… But as ever – he was brutal! In my quest for a shapely bottom and a good set of pins- we’ve been doing quite a few of these…

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Breaking down the rack pull!

The rack pull can be easily explained if we think of it as a partial deadlift. The reason for this is because that’s basically what you’re doing when you perform this exercise. This exercise starts from around the knee area. Usually slightly above or below depending on someone’s range of motion. Now when we think of a rack pull we need to think of it as a hip hinge movement or more technically an exercise that uses hip extension. Probably one of the most important movements we as humans can perform. It involves breaking at the hips (pushing your bum back) and then pushing the hips forward towards the bar.

 

What does it target?

The rack pulls targets the posterior chain. This is comprised of all the muscles down the back of our bodies. This includes: hamstrings, glutes, lower back and upper back muscles. It’s worth noting that the majority of the movement is generated by the hamstrings, glutes and lower back muscles. Meaning that if you want another hamstrings/glutes exercise to add to your training arsenal it’s safe that this is an exercise definitely worth adding into your routine.

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How do your perform it correctly?

Step 1) Set the bar in a power rack on pins at a height that allows you to lift and lower the bar with a neutral spine (no rounding).

Step 2) Take a shoulder width or slightly wider stance and place your knees on the bar before you lean forward to grab it.

Quick tip: placing your knees on the bar before leaning forward to grab it will prevent you from bending your knees too much during the exercise. Bending the knees too much allows for more quad work and takes the load off the target area. Definitely not what you want.

Step 3) Keeping your knees on the bar lean forward and grab the bar using an over hand grip (palms facing the wall behind you). Now squeeze the bar and try and bend it! This will lock all the back muscles into place allowing you to maintain a neutral spine.

Step 4) Keep your head in line with your spine. Don’t look up and place unnecessary stress on your neck. Now keep tight and drag the bar up your legs by pushing your hips forward. This will allow the lift to be initiated by the glutes and hamstrings. At the top squeeze your glutes as hard as you can.

Step 5) Keeping your neutral spine and the bar in contact with your legs push your bum back towards the wall behind you. Don’t think of it as leaning forward from the hips! Push them back and you will natural lean forward.

Step 6) In a controlled manner place the bar onto the pins but don’t relax. Keep tight on the bar. Take a one-second pause to eliminate any momentum then repeat for your desired rep range.

It’s important to remember that this exercise works all the posterior chain muscles. Meaning it can be done on a back day or a leg day. It’s personal preference.

Steve Chambers (@stevechamberspt)

Personal Trainer

Ultimate Performance Manchester

 

Thanks again Evil one!

 

I’ve also been doing plenty of walking this week, I’m trying to up my steady state cardio skills for our trek in June. We will be feeling across the Brecon Beacons over two days in aid of two wonderful charities. You can read more about our trek and indeed sponsor us (Thank you so much if you’ve already done so) here:  http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/Vital

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A HUGE welcome to the wonderful Kate Oates! Our fab new producer. She started at Corrie this week and we’re all so excited to have Kate on board, I’m a huge fan of her work and can’t wait to see what she can do at Corrie!! We will of course be sad to see the lovely Stuart Blackburn go- we’ll be sure to give him a fabulous send off and Kate a wonderful welcome!! A new era! How exciting.

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Lactose free?

 

If like me you’re lactose free but miss a good yogurt, help is at hand! There are some lactose free yogurts available on the market- HOWEVER I’m disappointed to report that nearly all of them are pumped with sugar and sweetener. I was making Alfie a desert the other day – turns out it’s a great alternative to yoghurt if you’re lactose free or need a better intake of good fats! It’s also great as a healthy dessert.

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Yog- Fake It!

 

One ripe avocado

8 strawberries

Small pack of blueberries

Small pack of raspberries

 

Whizz everything up in a blender and serve! Simples! As an extra treat grate some organic, dark chocolate on top! The avocado gives this dish a real creamy texture, you can also freeze it to make a healthy sorbet! Winner!!

 

Until next week

Stay happy, stay healthy and dream big!

 

Love

Auntie Cath

04 April
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Cheat meals and lip service!!

Did everyone have a wonderful Easter?! Did you go a bit to far with the chocolate? Help is at hand!! I’m a firm believer in ‘treats’ – I have a ‘treat meal’ once a week and it helps me to stay on track the rest of the time.

Basically I’m really good 6 days a week in terms of ‘eating clean’ but when it comes to my Saturday night? I’ll have whatever I fancy? If I want chips and some chocolate then I’m having bloody chips and chocolate!! Life is too short!

However…If your idea of a cheat meal is a slutty tub of ice-cream a bag of crisps and some chocolate, you might want to have a rethink!! When you’re choosing your ‘cheat’ or ‘treat’ meal – be realistic. Even though it’s a ‘treat’ and a break from your usual ‘clean’ diet, many people use a cheat meal as an excuse to be Greedy McGreedy.

Absolutely indulge in a little, sugary treat from time to time, But going hell for leather on a £10 bag of pick n’ mix will only set you back (and make you feel awful!) Most of my cheat meals are carb heavy – HOWEVER! They still have a good source of protein too- Keeping it high in carbs AND protein, leaves me satisfied. By all means have a treat – just plan ahead! It’s so nice to satisfy cravings – just make sure a cheat ‘meal’ doesn’t turn into a cheat day guys.

Alfie wasn’t too well over Easter. Thankfully his condition was not serious, but we had to spend a couple of days with him in Royal Manchester Childrens Hopsital. The gut wrenching feelings when your poorly baby is ill are awful.

However he is right as rain now , I feel truly lucky to have Alfie at home, running around again. But the experience has made me think of the thousands of parents that can’t take their child home. The long-term patients at RMCH.

It is indeed a wonderful place, the staff endeavor to make every part of their patients stay a happy experience. They achieve this and more. I have always been involved with helping to raise funds for this wonderful place and that will continue. If you get chance please help to support this wonderful place. The children and their loved ones really do need your donations to continue making this place as special as it is:

http://www.rmchcharity.org.uk

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Thank you RMCH!!!

Lip Service!

This week I’ve been chatting with make-up guru @ArmandBeasley . He’s been giving me top tips for the perfect pout!

Red Alert!

As far back as ancient Egypt, women (and in some cultures men) have adorned their lips with a flash of red by using the blood of crushed insects or pulverised semi precious stones. Thankfully these days there are even vegan friendly lippies to perfect that pout.
This year, designers ranging from Zac Posen to Dolce and Gabanna have once again made red lips the must-have lip colour of the season.
Every woman should try a red lippy but the key is to understanding the products undertone and if it suits your colouring. Generally cool bluey reds suit paler skin tones whilst warm orangey reds work better with olive-tanned skins. But makeup should be fun, so try on 3 variations and take a selfie, then using a collage app, pop them side by side and see which one you prefer.
But first you have to make sure that your lips are super smooth by gently buffing off any flaky skin on the lips with a baby tooth brush.
Then moisturise them by using lip balms that are petro-chemical free ( petroleum etc) as they just coat the lip without hydrating. I use a little bit of raw coconut oil. It’s a really versatile product plus it tastes fab in your coffee too!
If you have a yellowish tone to your teeth then use a lip colour with a cool ( blue) undertone to make the teeth appear whiter.

Armand Beasley
Make-up artist & beauty presenter

Corrie news? Well this week we’ve been filming at a church in Sale- Tony (Jason’s dad) has sadly passed away in the storylines were now shooting. Filming funeral scenes can obviously be very emotional and draining- the up side?? Filming with Ryan Thomas again! It’s been lovely to have some scenes with Ryan and Ofcourse the rest of the Grimshaw clan! I’ve missed you guys!

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Exercise of The Week!!

Lat Raise

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1. Pick a couple of dumbbells and stand with a straight torso and the dumbbells by your side at arms length with the palms of the hand facing you. This will be your starting position.

2. While maintaining the torso in a stationary position (do NOT swing), lift the dumbbells to your side with a slight bend on the elbow and the hands slightly tilted forward . Continue to go up until you arms are parallel to the floor. Exhale as you do this movement and pause for a second at the top.

3. Lower the dumbbells back down slowly to the starting position as you take a breath.

4. Repeat 8-10 depending on weight. Aim to do 4 sets.

*This exercise can also be performed sitting down.*

Chow For Now Lovelies!!

Stay Happy, Stay Healthy and Dream Big!!

Love Auntie Cath

Xx

29 March
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Rear of The Year and Lion King Celebrations!

 

We all like a good bum right? A sturdy, peachy backside is what we’d all like in an ideal world right? Well I’m here to help!! There are several exercises that will help you achieve your ‘rear of dreams’, one of the best is the ‘Hip Thrust’. It’s brutal yes, will you ache?? YES! Will it help you achieve a better backside? Definitely.

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Health and fitness expert @SteveChamberspt explains it all here:

What is the hip thrust bench and what does it target?
This very important training station is found in many different variations but fundamentally they are all very similar or exactly the same.
This particular exercise when performed uses the moment we call hip extension. This is when we thrust our hips forward from a flexed position. A very simple example of this particular movement would be simply standing up from a seated position or standing up from trying to stretch and reach your toes.
It simply means bringing the hips forward so you are in a straight line.
Now that movement is very important as it is involved in nearly movement we perform as humans and is a crucial movement for anyone who partakes in sport.
So what does this exercise target?
This exercise predominantly targets the glutes (bum). Now in this day and age we spend more time seated than standing meaning that overtime our glutes can become weaker or underused which can lead to many issues including the very common back ache. Meaning that this exercises is perfect for getting the glutes working again.
This also means that people who are wanting to improve the appearance of their glutes can implement this exercise into their training routine.
Now set up is important. You want to make sure you are in a position to hit the glutes properly and not let the lower back and hamstrings take over.
So setup as follows:
1) When on the station place the feet in a position then when you have fully hit hip extension you knees are roughly at 90 degrees. Along with this flare the feet out a few degrees as this can increase the contraction you will get through the glutes.

2) Make sure your upper back is firmly on the bad and not hanging off the edge.
3) Keep the head in a neutral position. Meaning don’t through your head back and you extend. Keep the head in line with the spine.
4) Keep the abs tight. Don’t let the stomach relax as this mean you will lose tension of the mid section meaning a lot of stress will be placed on the back.
Important tip: take a few seconds hold at the top position of this exercise and squeeze the glutes as hard as you can. You need to feel them working.
Steven Chambers – Personal Trainer – Ultimate Performance Manchester

God bless you Steve! Saving the world one glute at a time!! ?
Well WHAT a party we had for our Alfie at weekend!! My pal Rebecca dressed the room- it was Lion King themed, Bex made everything herself and it looked fab!

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And Tom’s friend Libby made an incredible cake!

untitled4We had a soft play area, face painting and lots of treats! And my personal favourite part of the day- a bouncy castle!

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I couldn’t help myself. It was so lovely to get all of Alfie’s little buddies together to celebrate him turning one. We feel so blessed. Happy Birthday Little man!!

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I’ve spotted Ryan Thomas at my gym a lot over the past few weeks- I can’t believe how fast his body is transforming!!

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He looks amazing! His program is intense and he’s grafting like there’s no tomorrow- but the results are already insane! He’s training alongside his brothers Adam and Scott- which I think really helps as they’ll support each other throughout and keep each other on track.

I treated him to an Indian Head massage after training in between scenes on set- what a trooper! (I’m too good to my cast mates sometimes) Go Ryan!! Super proud of you!

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As I mentioned last week I’m very pro-outdoors in terms of exercising now the weather has started to improve.

One of the other reasons I like to train outdoors is that outside you’ll encounter varied conditions that cannot be simulated in the gym. I.E – hills and different surfaces, such as concrete, grass, sand and – of course – mud!

All these surfaces and gradients exercise your body in different ways. You’ll need to use your limbs differently in order to adapt to the contour of the surfaces. Try and get out there on some lovely walks guys! And please tweet me your walking pics!! I promise you’ll enjoy it- were never far from the countryside in this country – so there’s no excuse! Take the family, take some good food and have a good ramble.

It also gets the kids outside instead of watching the TV or being glued to the IPad And with obesity on the rise in children, it’s our responsibility to keep our kids happy, healthy and active..

Have a wonderful week!

Stay Happy, stay healthy and Dream Big

Love Auntie Cath

21 March
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Celebrations, Sunshine and Salmon!

My son is one…I’m not sure how this happened? But it did. My gorgeous baby boy Alfie, whom only all of five minuets ago, was wriggling around in my tummy, is a walking, talking one year old!

We took Alfie to Chester Zoo for his birthday, it was wonderful seeing his little face light up as he encountered these strange animals for the first time. He did keep calling everything ‘dog’… so I’m not sure he quite got the jist!

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However he LOVED the giraffes, we spent quite sometime just watching them! We’re having a party for him in a few days too, so I’ll be sure to fill you in on that!

Thanks for all your Corrie tweets.

It’s been quite a week for Billy, Eva and Aiden- we are thrilled you guys are enjoying our storylines!!

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Last night we celebrated my pal Liz’s Birthday! We had a wonderful time! Liz is a party planner … So as you can imagine… It was pretty much the party of the century.

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Antony Cotton, Jennie McAlpine and the lovely Sally Lindsay came too- it was lovely to catch up with everyone.

I’m training as much as I can at the moment, prior to the wedding. I’ve been loving training outside this week! Doing a mixture of HIIT training and weights, doesn’t it make a difference when the sun is shining?

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I love to train outdoors so over the next few weeks I’ll be posting some real easy tips on doing so!! Here’s just a few reasons to take your training outside!

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Vitamin D- we get this from the sun- something we have to grab when we can in the uk! It

It has some great benefits. It strengthens your immune system, makes bones stronger and also actually improves your mood. Getting ones self in the sun is a great treatment for depression and other mood disorders. This is down to my favourite little mates- endorphins

(Which can raise your mood and keep it stable) They are released when you spend time in the sun. Training outside means you have constantly changing scenery that stimulates your brain. Giving your nogin a workout as well as your body! Also – Exercising amongst nature amongst trees and wildlife can give you a healthy mood boost and help any anxiety, getting rid of tension and stress that many of us suffer from.

Get out and get active guys.

My bulk of protein tends to come from fish – I love the stuff. Especially salmon- which has the extra bonus of being wonderfully high in omega 3. Brain food.

Here’s an über quick, healthy paleo recipe for you. I made this for dinner the other night – it went down a treat so it did!! Packed with omega 3 too.

‘Its A Wrap’ Salmon

•4 wild salmon fillets, about 5 oz. each (that’s just under 2 lbs of salmon in total);

•2 sprigs tarragon, cut in half;

•Zest of 1 lemon;

•8 slices of bacon;

•Himalayan Pink salt and freshly ground pepper;

•Coconut oil

1.Preheat your oven to 375 F.

2.Season the salmon to taste with Himalayan Pink salt and freshly ground black pepper.

3.Top each fillet with a sprig of tarragon and some lemon zest.

4.Wrap each fillet with 2 slices of bacon.

5.Heat some coconut oil in a large ovenproof skillet over a medium-high heat.

6.Fry the salmon on each side until golden brown (about 2 minutes per side).

7.Then transfer to the oven.

8.Place the salmon in the oven until cooked through (about 8 to 10 minutes). Serve with sweet potato mash and peas!!

Enjoy.

Stay happy, stay healthy and Dream BIG

Love Auntie Cath

Xxx

14 March
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Sleep Thieves, Treks and Fab Corrie News!!

I’m thrilled to confirm that ‘Coronation Street’ have renewed my contract for another year! I’m chuffed to bits and so excited to start working with our lovely new producer Kate Oates. Really hoping Eva has an exciting year ahead.

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We had our first ‘rehearsal trek’ this weekend. and it’s safe to say – I LOVED IT !

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Tisha, Katie, Laura, Dawn, Matt and I headed over to Rivington Pike (which is about 30 mins from Manchester) and did around 10 miles, next time we’ll aim for 15, then 20.

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The sun was shining, we were in wonderful company and we had a blast – proof that keeping fit doesn’t have to be expensive or be boring guys, not to mention the added health benefits of being outdoors!

Trekking is a great for keeping hearts healthy and agile. Making the heart pump blood vigorously and building cardiac muscle. I find trekking very therapeutic. It was lovely to just get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and de-stress.

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We stopped at the top of Winter Hill and had a little picnic, then walked around the top and took the long and picturesque route down.

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unnamedWe are doing Trekfest which will be 35 miles in total, through the Brecon Beacons June 4th and 5th for two amazing charities – ‘Super Josh’ and Parkinsons. You can find out more about both charities here:

Super Josh: joshwilson.org.uk

Parkinsons: parkinsons.org.uk

We are training so hard for our trek, and these charities are so close to our hearts. PLEASE, PLEASE sponsor us guys. Anything you can afford is hugely appreciated. You can sponsor us by clicking here:
http://m.virginmoneygiving.com/mt/uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserProfilePage.action?userUrl=Vital&isTeam=true&un_jtt_redirect …

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As a new mum I think I can absolutely say that the hardest part of this wonderful job is the lack of sleep!! You feel so tired you don’t know your own name! Babies are NOT robots! They’re all different and so found some of the advice out there very conflicting. So I contacted Fi Star-Stone, sleep expert for The Baby Show and author of “The Bedtime Book- Say Goodbye To Sleepless Nights”. I found her tips really useful- Alfie is such a good boy. I feel a lot of that is because we established a routine in the early days. Here are Fi’s words of wisdom for that much sought after slumber!!

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Top FIVE Tips For a Happy Bedtime

1. There is no ‘one size fits all’ rule for bedtimes! What works for one family – might not for another, so do your research. Look into all of the sleep advice out there including my own wide range of tips and techniques, and decide what will work best for you and your family. While it’s great to get advice from friends and family – you are your own child’s expert – trust your instincts and make an informed choice.

2. Routine is the magic key! Don’t panic – Routine doesn’t have to mean scary, regimented times for meals and activities! Instead, a gentle daily plan that fits with your family is perfect. A regular bedtime and daily naps will certainly help your little one get into good sleep habits together with regular mealtimes, playtimes and activities. Children thrive on routine, babies in particular, so whichever sleep plan you decide on, ensure you have a great daily routine in place. It really is the magic key to a happy bedtime.

3. The night and Day trick: Babies don’t come programmed with day and night knowledge, so it can take several weeks, even months before they are sleeping through the night and being more wakeful during the day. You can help your baby along by gently teaching them the difference between night and day. In the day make things a little louder and lighter, and make acti vities a little more stimulating. Nice bright shapes or blankets around them and nice walks in the fresh air. In the evenings make everything a little darker, calmer and more gentle. Eventually your baby will naturally fall into the day and night patterns of sleep.

4. You are not alone! It’s easy to feel like you are the only one who has a child that doesn’t sleep – but let me reassure you, ALL children go through wakeful periods and it’s just a matter of trying to get the root of the problem. Look after yourself – eat well, and rest as much as you can when you go through a pa rticularly bad patch of sleepless nights. Don’t be afraid to ask for help – even if it means someone watching baby so you can tale an hours power nap.

5. A happy bedtime checklist: When you are exhausted it’s hard to think straight which is where my happy bedtime ’T.H.I.N.N.E.R’checklist may help! (Not that thinner is a winner – I just like a good mnemonic!

T: Tired are they overtired? Have they missed their daily nap or had a few broken night’s sleep? Over tiredness is one of the biggest causes of sleepless nights which seems ridiculous but true. Think through the day and pinpoint the over tiredness trigger so you can work on it tomorrow.

H: Hungry? Is your little one getting enough milk/food during the day? Hunger is one of the biggest causes of night waking, especially during growth spurts! As your baby grows they will need a little more. If you are formula feeding – always check your baby’s weight and the recommended bottle allowance. With weaned babies and young toddlers – ensure as they grow they are getting enough to eat.

I: Illness: When you little one is teeth< /span>ing or unwell it’s important that you offer lots of comfort and TLC and don’t continue with any sleep training you may be doing. You yourself know how awful it is to feel poorly and just need some love. Ride the teething storm and sleepless nights until you are sure your little one is well enough to go back to some gentle sleep training.

N: Nasty nappy: Are they wet or soiled? Is their nappy to tight or uncomfortable? Sometimes it’s the simple things that wake little ones in the night.

N: Not warm enough: Is your little one warm or cool enough? Check the room temperature (ideal room temperature is 16-20 ºC) Check they are dressed well for bed. In summer many babies sleep in just a vest, in winter they may need a thicker tog baby sleeping bag.

E: Excited? Sometimes those fun giggly games are best left to the daytime. Over-excited little ones, even young babies, find it very hard to settle. Also avoid any screen time at least half an hour before bed.

R: Ready for bed: Ensure your little ones is calm and settled and they are ready for bed. Make sure they’ve had their last feed, are winded well and with older children, make sure they feel comfortable and reassured before leaving them to settle for the night.

Finally, try not to worry. Sleepless nights really won’t last forever, and there is always a gentle solution to help you. If one solution doesn’t work – try another. Let your baby be your guide.

If sleep issues seem out of control, and you have any ongoing concerns or worries about your little one, talk to your Health Visitor or GP who can help.”

Fi! You’re a God send thankyou!!

You can follow Fi for more tips here:

@childcareisfun

Stay Happy, Stay Healthy and DREAM BIG

Love Auntie Cath xxx

07 March
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Corrie, Singing and Big Breakfasts!!

Firstly thank you for all your kind comments regarding Eva’s storylines in ‘Corrie’ at the moment.

As ever, your kind words and support mean the world to me and it’s delightful to hear you’re enjoying our work! Our writers, producers and directors have done a wonderful job of highlighting such a sensitive storyline.

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Human trafficking is very real, and it’s happening all over the world- right now. There is a wonderful charity called ‘Hope For Justice’ fighting to uphold freedom, restore justice and rebuild lives.

Hope for Justice is a charity based and founded in Manchester 7 years ago and last year thet freed 150 victims of Human trafficking here in the UK. That was men, women and children, cases ranging from Sex Exploitation to Forced Labour and even Domestic Servitude (house slaves!!).

You can find out more about their work here:

http://hopeforjustice.org/

I bobbed down to London this week to chat all thing Corrie with Phil and Holly. I also bumped into the gorgeous Natalie Anderson – it was lovely to catch up with her. She’s been upto some pretty exciting things since leaving Emmerdale and as always looked so beautiful!

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Also this week was the fabulous ‘Mirror Ball’ in aid of Forever Manchester.

http://themirrorball.org/

Shayne and I opened the night with our version of Lady Antebellum’s ‘Need You Now’. We had a fab time- I love singing with Shayne and we were in wonderful company. A great night had by all for a smashing cause!

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Matt and I have been strength training this week. Meaning my weights have been heavier… But for fewer reps… When I say heavy- I mean HEAVY – I feel stronger than ever. Obviously were building strength here (no poop Sherlock!) Which means lean muscle mass and better endurance. Theres a myth that ‘girls who lift heavy weights, look like men’ and become ‘too muscular’…this isn’t the case. Sure if you want that look – it can be achieved through weight training. But that isn’t what I want – I want my curves and I want to be ‘toned’ – with some muscle definition, but above all I want to be strong and healthy. I feel that my weight training is helping me achieve this more than ever. A combination of weights and high intensity interval training (HIIT) really is the best way to fast body composition results!

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A lot of people make the huge mistake of skipping breakfast to try and lose weight. Big mistake. Not only are you starving (and in a seriously bad mood by 10am) but you’re more likely to reach for a sugar hit or carb fest because your metabolism has hit a brick wall. What you eat at the start of your day dictates your hormonal response straight away- you start with sugar? You’ll crave sugar from there on out. What you should be doing is making sure your breakfast consists of good fats and protein. This will help you feel satisfied… you become a fat burning machine from the off!! If you start the day with a sugary cereal or jam on toast for example- you’ll continue to crave sugar and you’ll also get a massive insulin spike – encouraging fat storage. Don’t skip breakfast!! Your body is ready for it! Ditch the cereal and switch to the likes of :
Eggs

Salmon

Kippers

Mackerel

Turkey

Tuna

Green Veg

Chia seeds

Nuts

Stay Happy, Stay Healthy and Dream BIG!!!

26 February
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Taking The Jump and ‘Mum Guilt’

Whose been watching ‘The Jump’? I’ve never been skiing -I suspect I’d be terrible on the slopes as my balance isn’t great! Tom and I once went ice-skating with Samia Ghadie and Sylvain Longchambon once…

Tom and Samia were fab, Sylvain was obviously amazing … but poor Sylvain was left holding me up at 1 mile an hour in despair, so god knows what Id be like on the slopes! However! Skiing is wonderful exercise!

Getting your heart pumping and increasing blood flow around the body while you whizz down a mountain is a great cardiovascular workout. Skiing is one of the few activities which will give you an all-over body workout. Almost every muscle is put to use as you lean to turn, bend to jump or stabilise your skiing stance. Downhill skiing engages the core abdominal muscles when you balance, and quads and hamstrings to turn the skis. Not to mention the benefits of that lovely mountain air and the increased Vitamin D intake you’d get! If like me, you’re not one for skiing, using a ‘SkiErg’ at the gym is a great cardio workout – fab bit of HIIT training at the end of a weights sesh!!

 

My pal @ArmandBeasley is a big fan of organic and natural beauty! He will be at the Professional Beauty Trade show this Sunday! Armand really knows his stuff if you’re able to go along!

He’ll be hosting the Warpaint stage at this weekend’s Professional Beauty Trade show (Sunday 28th & Monday 29th) at London’s Excell. On the Sunday at 11am Armand is going to be kicking off the seminar programme by talking about the evolution of Organic and Natural beauty, plus he’ll be demonstrating some of the new products from the industry on someone from the audience.

Armand:

“It’s so important to know what you are putting on your skin as its your body’s largest organ and can absorb up to 70% of what you put on it!

Here’s a quick tip to make your lashes look thicker:
1. Curl your lashes using good quality rubber tipped lash curlers but gently heat the rubber tip using a hairdryer first. Careful not to get the tip too hot as you are going to be placing the curlers close to the eyes – just enough to give you a heated lash curl. Hold close to the root of the lashes, press & hold for a few seconds then release and move up the lashes and repeat so that you get a gradual curl.
2. Then dot liquid liner periodically along the root of the bottom lashes followed by black pencil liner along the inside rim of the upper lashes.
3. Finish with a double coat of mascara top and bottom… For the bottom lashes you can get mini mascaras so the brush is more adept at reaching the finer lashes. You can of course add a flick of liquid liner for added drama!

Thank you @ArmandBeasley ?�゚リリ

This week I had a lovely spa afternoon. This was my valentines gift from my Tom- Thank you babe! It was much needed! January has been pretty crazy! As a new mum I feel constant guilt each time I have a little bit of ‘me time’. Even if its just an hour at the gym (Catholic guilt never leaves you!!) – this needs to stop!! Yes I’m a mummy, but Im still Cath! It’s so important to take ‘time out’, being a mum is the best job in the world, but its also the hardest. Hands up to single mum’s everywhere! I don’t know how you’re doing it – you’re AMAZING!!

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Sometimes I just nip upstairs for half an hour when Tom has Alfie and read a book in the bath for a while, it just helps to relax me and give me time to recharge. The more active Alfie is becoming the more coffee I appear to drink too sometimes!

image4Us new mums need to make sure were getting enough B Vitamins to sustain energy. Its all too easy to reach for sweets, chocolate and other nasties!! Foods rich in Vitamin B12 include:

Shellfish

Fish

Liver

Red meat

Eggs

Red meat is also packed with iron which is great for new mums too! Liver?! I hear you gasp! Its a tricky one isn’t it…a rather acquired taste. I myself am not a fan – however it nutritionally very good for you! I found a great recipe on ‘Thehealthyfoodie.com’. Tom and I tried this last week and I must admit – it was gorgeous!

BEEF LIVER WITH FIG, BACON AND CARAMELIZED ONION COMPOTE [OR THE ULTIMATE BEEF LIVER RECIPE]

INGREDIENTS

• 375g beef liver, sliced

• The juice of 1 lemon

• 2 tsp arrowroot flour

• ½ tsp Himalayan salt

• ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

• 4 slices smoked bacon, cut crosswise into ½” pieces

• 2 large onions, sliced

• 200g mushrooms, sliced

• 4 dried figs, chopped

• ¼ tsp Himalayan salt

• ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

• 2 sprigs fresh sage, chopped

• 2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar

• 1/4 cup water

INSTRUCTIONS

1. “In a non-reactive sealable container, marinate the beef liver in lemon juice for at least 8 hours (or up to 24 hours). Yes, that’s in the refrigerator!

2. In a cold, large heavy skillet (cast iron preferred) set over medium heat, cook the bacon until nice and crispy.

3. While the bacon is cooking, rinse the beef liver slices under running water and pat them dry.

4. In a shallow bowl or plate, combine the arrowroot flour, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly with a whisk until very well combined.

5. Dredge the liver slices in the arrowroot mixture and shake well to remove any excess. Set aside in a plate until bacon is done cooking.

6. When bacon is nice and crispy, remove it to a plate with a slotted spoon, and set aside. Pour the bacon fat into a small bowl but leave about 2 tablespoons in the pan. Put the skillet back over high heat.

7. When the pan is really nice an hot, add the liver slices and sear for about 45 seconds to a minute per side, just long enough for them to get a beautiful dark brown and crispy exterior. You might have to work in batches, depending on the size of your skillet.

8. Remove the liver to a plate, cover loosely to keep it warm while you work on the onion compote. Put your pan back over the heat source and lower heat to medium-high; add about half the remaining bacon fat and throw the sliced onions right in.

9. Let the onions caramelize for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the onions have taken a nice golden coloration, add the remaining bacon fat and the sliced mushrooms. Continue cooking for 2-3 minutes, until the mushrooms become soft and slightly golden.

10. Add figs, salt, pepper, vinegar and water and cook for another minute or so, until liquid is completely evaporated.

11. Stir in fresh sage, kill the heat and place liver slices on top of the onion compote. Cover loosely and let sit for about 5 minutes just to warm up the liver and allow all the flavours to mingle happily.

12. Serve immediately , sprinkled with crispy bacon.”

Thanks Heathy Foodie!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my gorgeous pal Ashleigh!! Ashleigh Guthrie is one of my best buddies, I met her when I first started Corrie five years ago. We had a lovely brunch with Alfie to celebrate (even though Alfie kept spraying his food all over Ashleigh!)

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Right I’m off to learn my scripts! Have fab week guys

Stay Happy, Stay Healthy and Dream Big

Love Auntie Cath xxx

22 February
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Singing gig at Man U and a great veggie recipe for your kiddies

So! Our lovely @paula_lane is leaving ITV Coronation Street

Paula and I are friends and Kylie is one of my favourite Corrie characters so needless to say I’m very sad to see her go. Paula is one of the most versatile actresses I know – I can’t wait to see what she does next!

So it’s suddenly hit home this week that I’m getting married!! I’ve been so busy at work I’ve not done much at all! I’m lucky I have the wonderful Liz Taylor as my wedding planner so all is in hand – time to get my backside into ‘wedding mode!’

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I performed at Manchester United football ground this week alongside Will Mellor and Tupele Dorgu, which was so lovely! I love to sing and it was great to catch up with Tupele – who is soon to be starring in ‘Legally Blonde’. I saw Tupele in Chicago and she was fantastic – so if you get chance to watch this show I think she’ll be fabulous!! And who knew Will Mellor could sing?!

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Fantastic – they both were. A great night had by all. I’m looking forward to singing again in a few weeks at ‘The Mirror Ball’ alongside my ‘telly fella’ Shayne Ward. We’ve been working on a new duet and can’t wait to perform. You can find out more information about @The_Mirror_Ball here:

http://themirrorball.org

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I’m sure we’ve all seen the news reports on the Meningitis B vaccine? Terrifying stuff. The vaccine for meningitis B, called Bexsero, is available free on the NHS for babies born after 1 May 2015. So Parents whose children are too old to qualify but still want to get the jab for them need to buy the vaccine privately. This is what we decided to do for our son Alfie some time ago. We are very lucky that we could afford to do this…but what if you can’t afford the injections privately? I think it’s really important that we sign this petition.

The bacterial infection affects young babies and children, especially those under one year old. Symptoms include a high fever with cold hands and feet, confusion, vomiting and headaches. There are approximetly 1,200 cases each year in this country …and one in 10 cases is fatal. In a country with so much money being wasted left right and centre, surely something like this takes priority?? SIGN TODAY:

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/108072

I’ve been looking at some fab recipes for kids this week. Luckily (at the moment) Alfie loves vegetables. We don’t give him sweets or chocolate. We give him food he was ‘designed’ to eat. Sugar is highly addictive, the last thing you want to do is have a child craving sugar!! And to give them refined sugars on a regular basis is cruel… Yep cruel. It’s been made all to clear the dangers of too much sugar recently. We’re in the midst if a diabetes and obesity epidemic- poor diet being the main factor. Do not set your child up for a life time of ailments , cravings and weight/skin problems!!

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Here is a wonderful recipe for getting veg into your child’s diet:

Auntie Cath’s Turkey Veg Burgers

1.5 lbs Lean turkey mince

1 white onion diced

a handful of fresh kale finely chopped

2 courgettes grated

3 carrots grated

3/4 cup of Quinoa – cooked

1 egg

Mix all the ingredients and make into patties. Grill and serve wrapped in lettuce with fresh salsa!

Stay Happy, Stay Healthy and Dream Big

Auntie Cath

xxx

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