Thursday, 19 June 2014

Principal Yoga poses to help tone and strengthen the ligaments and muscles and enhance the flexibility of the joints and spine.

Celebrities with scoliosis

Scoliosis (/ˌskɒlɪˈoʊsɪs/;from Ancient Greek: σκολίωσις skoliosis “obliquity, bending”) is a medical condition in which a person's spine is curved from side to side. Although it is a complex three-dimensional deformity, on an X-ray, viewed from the rear, the spine of an individual with scoliosis can resemble an "S" or a "?", rather than a straight line.

Scoliosis is typically classified as either congenital (caused by vertebral anomalies present at birth), idiopathic (cause unknown, sub-classified as infantile, juvenile, adolescent, or adult, according to when onset occurred), or secondary to a primary condition.

Secondary scoliosis can be the result of a neuromuscular condition (e.g., spina bifida, cerebral palsy, spinal muscular atrophy, or physical trauma) or syndromes such as Chiari malformation. 
(From various sources cited on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Recent longitudinal studies reveal that the most common form of the condition, late-onset idiopathic scoliosis, is physiologically harmless and self-limiting even without treatment. The rarer forms of scoliosis pose risks of complications.

A diagnosis of scoliosis can be scary and people can worry that living a normal life may not be possible. 

However, there are a number of people with scoliosis in the public eye who force the impact of their scoliosis into the shadow of their achievements and careers. It’s truly inspirational stuff! So here are a few famous names who have been affected by scoliosis.

Sports men and women

One of the biggest myths surrounding scoliosis is that it prevents people continuing with the sports that they love. 

Usain Bolt
Usain Bolt, ‘the fastest man alive’, has smashed that myths credibility, along with obtaining his three world records for the 100 metres, 200 meters and 4x100meter relay. Bolt was born with congenital scoliosis and initially had a small curve in his lower spine. However, in an interview with ESPN, he reported that it has progressed to a significant ‘S’ curve which caused him discomfort during adolescence. He was able to manage his condition by keeping his core and back muscles strong (and what a back it is!) We look forward to seeing if he can defend his Olympic titles in Rio 2016! Go Bolt!

Jenny Thompson, former Olympic swimmer, didn’t let her diagnosis of scoliosis get in the way of  winning 12 Olympic medals, including 8 gold, during the course of her career. On the tennis scene, current World Number 110,James Blake has had a storming career, reaching the final of the 2006 Tennis Masters Cup, and the semi-finals of the Beijing Olympics.

Other well known sports professionals with scoliosis include Olympic swimmersJanet EvansJon Oslon and golfers Stacy Lewis and Dudley Hart. These sports professionals are international inspirations and living reminder that anything is possible!
Actresses and Models

Sadly scoliosis can lead to body image issues and a lack of confidence. Despite acknowledging her own scoliosis insecurities, actress, model, 90’s ‘it girl’, and socialite Chloe Sevigny has built a multi-faceted career appearing in many successful independent films, TV series’ and even appearing on the front cover of Elle magazine.

Chloe Sevigny

Sarah Michelle Geller has also spoken publicly about living with scoliosis
An equally sassy twisted sister is actress Sarah Michelle Geller, most famous for playing Buffy in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Now retired from her vampire slaying days, Sarah relieves discomfort caused by scoliosis by doing Pilates. Actress and former model Rebecca Romijn is best known for her role as Mystique from X-Men and Alexis Meade from Ugly Betty

A scoliosis diagnosis is something that she has in common with fellow Ugly Betty co-star Vanessa Williams who plays Wilhelmina Slater.

Vanessa Williams

The Queen of Hollywood, actress, singer dancer Liza Minnelli is a true scoliosis survivor. Despite having two false hips, a wired-up knee and three crushed disks on top of her scoliosis, she still manages to dance every day. If that’s not inspiration to dance, I don’t know what is!  Other glamorous superstars with scoliosis include Elizabeth TaylorRenee Russo, and Lisa Howard.

Liz Taylor suffered from Scoliosis

Some of the biggest names in rock music history had a scoliosis diagnosis.

Kurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain, lead singer, guitarist, and primary songwriter of the band Nirvana suffered from back pain due to scoliosis all his life. Despite frequently experiencing pain due to the weight of his guitar he was able to channel it through his music.

Continuing on a rock tip, John Lydon, lead singer of punk rock band the Sex Pistols, had a hunched back due to his scoliosis. However that didn’t stop him from playing at sold out gigs and touring the world.

Jeffery Tate spent a good deal of his childhood in hospitals and wheelchairs. Not only did he decide to repay modern medicine for teaching him to walk by becoming a doctor, but he also became a fantastic British conductor. Tate’s international conducting career started with the Metropolitan Opera in New York. He has since been appointed as principle conductor of the Royal Opera House, music director of the San Carlo Theatre of Naples and chief conductor of the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra.
Melanie Blatt from girl group All Saints, had fairly severe scoliosis requiring surgery. The three metal pins down her spine didn’t stop her from dancing on stage with her fellow band mates.

Scoliosis even has royal representation. When millions around the world tuned in to the royal wedding in 2011, the only unusual thing they would have noticed about Princess Eugenie was her hat. 

The princess was raising money for the Royal national Orthopaedic Hospital and the Marylebone Cricket Club
Princess Eugenie is a patron of the  Royal National Orthopaedic
Hospital where she had surgery at the age of 12 to correct her scoliosis

In fact, Princess Eugenie, who is 6th in line to the throne, had an operation in 2002 to correct her scoliosis. She has since graced the front cover of Tatler magazine and attended university in Newcastle.


Visit the SAUK website to read more about scoliosis and find out how you can help them continue to provide support and advice to people with scoliosis.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

International Scoliosis Awareness Day

Saturday 28th June, 2014 - Speak up for scoliosis!

On Saturday 29th June 2013, the first ever International Scoliosis Awareness Day (ISAD) was launched! Headed by SAUK (, people with scoliosis from around the world united to raise awareness and funds for curvature of the spine!  This was the first international scoliosis awareness day with the online community getting active, photos and stories being shared, and events going on around the country.
The next one will be on Saturday 28th June 2014 and, with your help, ISAD can go from strength to strength!

Download your ISAD guide now!

Scoliosis is a relatively unknown condition and many people have never even heard of it.  The International Scoliosis Awareness Day is a great chance to create positive, public awareness about scoliosis, promote education, advocacy campaigns, and bring people together with the condition.  The day is an opportunity to shout about scoliosis, to help people understand what it is, and the impact that it can have on people’s lives.  We will be working very closely with the Scoliosis Research Society in the USA to bring people together from around the world to run events, feature in the press, and most importantly show off their curves while having lots of fun!
So, what are you doing on Saturday 28th June 2014?
Think BIG: why not run an event for the awareness day?  Hold a fete, have a party, host an awareness BBQ, head to your local park and have a picnic with blue scoliosis cupcakes, set up a stall in your local shopping centre, or set yourself a challenge! The options are endless!
Get media savvy: Why not approach your local newspaper or radio station with your story to see if they will feature you? It is a great opportunity to raise awareness of the condition and to tell people about the great work done by SAUK. Download the ISAD resources (coming soon) and send them to local media outlets - don't forget to tell them your story as they might feature you too!
Help us promote the day: change your Facebook profile picture to one of the special images, update your status to tell people about the day or use our twitter hashtag #ISAD14. The more people that know about it, the more people will get involved to raise awareness and funds for scoliosis!
Don’t just focus on one day: We don’t want a day to be a barrier for people getting involved, so if you want to choose another day close to the 28th that is absolutely fine!  Why not get your work or school involved on the Friday or the Monday?  You could have a dress down, or dress in blue day, or take cakes and biscuits in to sell to your colleagues or classmates!
Fundraise a variety of ways: use Virgin Money Giving for a convenient, user-friendly, and secure way to fundraise. Or use a sponsorship form for easy fundraising from your friends and family!
More information is contained in the ISAD fundraising guide, and we'll be keeping you updated with developments so check back regularly!
Have any questions or ideas? Get in touch!

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Libberton dog
The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Scottish SPCA) is Scotland's animal welfare charity.
They encourage kindness to animals, aim to prevent cruelty through education, investigate abuse, rescue animals in distress and find animals new homes.
Scottish Charity of the Year
In 2013 they were named Scottish Charity of the Year and People's Choice winners in the SCVO awards, which they were very proud to receive.
As an animal welfare charity, they receive no government or lottery funding and rely on public donations to continue their vital work rescuing and re-homing abused, abandoned and injured animals in Scotland.
Scottish SPCA inspectors and animal rescue officers save thousands of domestic, farm and wild animals from harm and danger every year, while their vets and staff in their wildlife rescue centre and animal rescue and rehoming centres look after, rehabilitate and re-home thousands more.
Visit their online animal re-homing section to view some of the animals needing new homes including dogs, cats, rabbits and other smaller animals who are all looking for someone to take care of them.
They run an animal welfare education programme in schools, communities and their largest centres. They also campaign for improved animal welfare standards.
Volunteers play a key role working with animals, supporting their education programme and fundraising in their local communities.
The Scottish SPCA is entirely separate from the RSPCA, which operates in England and Wales only. There is no such charity as the 'RSPCA Scotland' or 'Scottish RSPCA'
If you want to help an animal charity in Scotland, you can join the Scottish SPCA for just £1 a week.
You can read their 2012 Annual Review for more information about their work helping animals in Scotland.
If you know of an animal in danger or distress, please call their Animal Helpline: 03000 999 999.
The Scottish SPCA does not put healthy animals to sleep.
Scottish Charity No. SC 006467

Rescue Pets Make Great Pets!

Flynn is an older boy who requires a quiet home.
He enjoys attention however he also enjoys time relaxing and pottering around by himself.
Flynn is looking for someone who can give him the tender loving care he needs, is it you?
If you are interested in re-homing Flynn visit

Help more animals

You can help rescue and rehome more animals like Flynn by joining the Scottish SPCA for as little as £1 per week.
Join today

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

It's been over two months since my last post. It's been very hot and humid over here that it put me off baking for a while; much to the benefit of my new-found leaner figure, since I lost 4 lbs!  Well, now that's been raining for the last couple of days and the temperature is cooler, I am back in the kitchen experimenting with cakes and frostings as usual, trying to create healthy desserts that taste great. This is always difficult with cakes. Sugar is never healthy, especially white sugar. I read that it's as addictive as heroin and it's bleached with bone char and various chemicals. One of this is sulfur dioxide, a compound found in oil and fuel, which is also used as a preservative in dried fruits such as raisins, dried apricots and prunes. Whenever the recipe allows it, I always try to substitute regular sugar with honey or natural brown sugar. Sugar also causes the breakdown of collagen and elastin, which contributes directly to wrinkles. But it's OK to have a  portion of a healthy dessert, occasionally.

I recently came across a notebook of recipes from the 1950s which belonged to my grandmother. Her indulgent chocolate cake recipe included spices and dry fruit, ingredients which I feel are best suited to a winter cake, so I decided to adapt it to my taste and skip those altogether.

I wanted to be back with something chocolaty since I love chocolate and everything that has cocoa in it. Chocolate is uplifting and it's good to know that according to medical researchers, if eaten in moderation, dark chocolate - and cocoa in general - (maybe not milk chocolate, since it's full of fat), is a powerful antioxidant and therefore acts as an anti-ageing and also helps lower cholesterol. 

Ingredients (serve 6):

For the cake:

3 eggs
170 gr brown sugar
120 gr flour
30 gr cocoa
50 gr unsalted butter
2 tbsp milk
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the chocolate custard:

1 egg
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp cocoa
1 tbsp corn starch
1/2 pint milk
1 tbsp unsalted butter

For the frosting:

50 gr unsalted butter
100 gr cream cheese
2 tbsp honey

Cocoa, for dusting.


Prepare the custard by whisking the egg with the sugar. Add the cocoa and corn starch, the milk and place over a low heat stirring with a wooden spoon until the custard thickens. Remove from the heat, stir in the butter and allow to cool.

Now on to the cake: Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease a 20cm/8in cake tin with some butter and dust it with flour. 

Beat the eggs with sugar and butter until fluffy. Blend in the rest of the ingredients and stir until smooth. Gently pour the mixture on to the cake tin.

Bake in the oven for 25-35 minutes, or until the top is firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool completely.

Transfer the cake to a serving plate. Cut the cake in half and spread the chocolate custard on the bottom half of the cake, then carefully top with the other half.

Prepare the frosting by blending the butter with the cream cheese and the honey.

Ice the cake all over with the cream cheese icing, using a palette knife. Dust the top with a small amount of cocoa.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Salmon Fish Cakes

Ingredients (Serves 4)

500gr/1lb potatoes, cut into large chunks
350gr/12oz salmon fillets
2tsp vinegar
30gr/1oz/2tbsp butter
3 tbsp single cream
2tsp lemon juice
2tsp chopped fresh parsley
30gr/1oz/1/4 cup plain flour
1 egg white
90gr/3oz/11/2 cups breadcrumbs
vegetable oil
salt and pepper


Boil the potatoes in lightly salted water until tender. 

Place the salmon in a shallow pan with the vinegar and just enough water to cover. Simmer gently until the fish flakes easily. Drain well and flake the salmon with a fork, taking care to remove any skin and bones. 

When cooked, drain the potatoes, peel them and mash them. Mix them with the fish, the butter, the cream, the lemon juice and the chopped parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

Form the mixture into 8 cakes and dust with the flour. Beat the egg white in a shallow bowl with 1 tbsp cold water. Put the breadcrumbs on a separate plate. Dip the fish cake in the egg white, then coat with the breadcrumbs. Fry in vegetable oil until cooked and golden brown, about 4-5 minutes on each side.

Serve with tartare sauce and lemon wedges.

Torta al Limone (Lemon Cake)

Ingredients (Serves 6-8)

2 medium eggs
150gr caster sugar
150gr plain flour
1 lemon
40gr butter
3tbsp milk
2tsp baking powder 
1tsp vanilla extract
Icing sugar, to decorate


Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Grease a 23cm/9in springform pan with butter and dust it lightly with flour. 

Grate the rind from the lemon, cut it in half and squeeze the juice.

Melt the butter in pan.

Place the eggs, sugar, lemon rind and vanilla extract into a bowl and whisk until smooth and pale yellow in colour. Stir in the lemon juice, the melted butter and the milk.

Sift the flour and the baking powder into the bowl, stir until well blended and smooth. 

Pour the mixture into the pan and bake for 30 minutes. To check that the cake is done insert a skewer in the middle. If the  skewer comes out clean, the cake is ready.

Allow to cool for 15mins. Remove the cake from the pan and place it on a serving dish. Finally, dust it with icing sugar.

Diets of Old Hollywood Movie Stars

Jean Harlow was tiny and perfect. In fact, in the 1930s she had one of the most envied bodies in the celebrity world. However, she had to work hard to keep the weight off. She was a lover of good food but whenever she had a movie coming up she would follow a strict diet of vegetables and salads. Her favourite was the Caesar salad, invented by Italian American chef, restaurateur and hotel owner, Caesar Cardini. After she and Clark Gable discovered it, it became a hit in L.A. and, later, around the world. Jean was also a sport fan. She kept fit by swimming, as well as playing tennis and golf.

Mae West had a lifelong love of fitness and went for daily bike rides into her 80s. She once said: ''I never worry about diets. The only carrots that interest me are the number you get in a diamond." She didn't drink. "I never understood drinking. It isn't good for your looks, and it cuts down on what you are. I never wanted to cut down on what I am.''

Greta Garbo grew up Greta Gustafsson, an overweight, big-footed girl from Sweden. When aged 17, she met director Mauritz Stiller, the first of many Garbo mentors, he told her to lose 20lbs. Louis B Mayer of MGM invited Garbo to Hollywood in the 1920s, but warned her that America didn't like fat girls. She then went on a strict diet of spinach for three weeks to achieve the slender figure she became famous for. 
She enjoyed long walks and was a huge fan of "tramping about the woods." She was a vegetarian and preferred a frugal breakfast and a light lunch.

Bette Davis, on the other hand, was not an advocate for dieting. She once stated during an interview, published on the Sunday Herald on June 19, 1960: 

'' I was lucky to discover the importance of activity. I had always played tennis, swam a lot and ate intelligently - and in moderation, so I never had a problem with my weight or my health.''

Aubergine Parmigiana (Parmigiana di Melanzane): Baked aubergines with cheese and tomato sauce

Ingredients (Serves 6)

1kg/35oz/2.2lbs Aubergines
1 clove garlic
1 onion
2tbsp olive oil
700gr/24oz tomato passata (sieved puréed tomatoes)
1 1/2tsp salt
2tsp caster sugar
1tsp nutmeg
1/2tsp pepper
3tbsp coarse salt
2/250gr/8.8oz mozzarella cheeseballs
100gr/3 1/2 oz Parmesan cheese


Wash aubergines and cut them into 1/2in thick slices. Arrange them in layers inside a large colander, covering each layer with the coarse salt. Place a plate over the last layer, add a weight on top and leave in the fridge for 1-2 hours, to release the bitter juices. Rinse and squeeze well, then grill at 190°C/375°F, for 10 minutes, until soft.

For the tomato sauce, finely chop the onion and garlic. Place the olive oil into a large pan.  Add the garlic and onion and cook on a medium heat for 10 minutes, until soft. Add 1tbsp water if it becomes too dry. Add the tomato purée, 1 1/2tsp salt, the nutmeg, the pepper and the sugar, put a lid on the pan and simmer slowly for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Dice the mozzarella cheese and grate the Parmesan cheese.  Put a spoonful of tomato on an oven dish (25 x 20 x 5cm/10 x 8 x 2in) then alternate layers of aubergines, tomato sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Finish with a layer of sauce and plenty of grated Parmesan cheese.

Bake at 200°C/390°F for 45 minutes until golden and crisp on the surface. 

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Penne Pasta with Tomatoes and Olives

This delicious pasta dish makes for a delicious light dinner or a healthy packed lunch. Tomatoes and red peppers are rich in the antioxidant lycopene. According to the American Cancer Society (, people who have diets rich in tomatoes, which are the most concentrated food source of lycopene, appear in some studies to have a lower risk of certain types of cancer, especially cancers of the prostate, lung, and stomach. Studies that looked at lycopene levels in the blood found that levels were higher after people ate cooked tomatoes than after they ate raw tomatoes or drank tomato juice. 

Ingredients (serves 4)

1 red pepper, quartered, deseeded and cored
3tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, sliced
500g/1lb 2oz tomatoes, skinned (optional), roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1tsp sugar
salt and freshly ground pepper
250gr/9oz dried penne pasta
2tbsp sun-dried tomato paste
75g/3oz stoned black and green olives (cut in halves)
grated Parmesan and basil leaves, to garnish


Put red pepper on a baking sheet, brush with oil then grill for 10min until skins are blackened. Put into a plastic bag and leave for 5min.

Heat 1tbsp oil in a frying pan, add onion and fry for 5min until lightly browned. Add tomatoes, garlic, sugar and seasoning.

Cover and simmer for 10min. Stir occasionally.

Cook pasta for 8-10min in boiling water. Drain, toss with remaining oil.

Stir tomato paste into tomato sauce, add pasta and olives. Skin, slice and add red pepper then toss together. Spoon into dishes and garnish with Parmesan and basil.