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Me and my health: Singer Caitlin Cousins on her lifestyle

By Helen Carson

The 20-year-old singer, originally from Banbridge but now living in Belfast, is a second year music student at Belfast Met. She has a festive song Christmas is Coming Around out now, which will raise money for a homeless charity.

Q: Do you take regular exercise - and if so, what?

A: I used to be a serious hockey player, but a bout of viral meningitis has left me with a weakened immune system.

Now I play an occasional game of football with my housemates; we organise five-a-side or seven-a-side at the sports grounds in Stormont. I also like to get out on the Belfast Bikes for a cycle with friends.

Q: What's the worst illness you have had?

A: Meningitis when I was 16 - at the time I was doing my GCSEs. The doctors think it may have been a result of a flu bug which I fought off, then it started fighting against my body. It took up to three weeks to diagnose, as the doctors thought it could be a number of things. I was eventually admitted after another visit to Accident and Emergency and was in hospital for three weeks.

I can't remember that much about it as I was unconscious a lot of the time. I already had a weak immune system and now I am more vulnerable to colds.

Q: How healthy is your diet?

A: Living the student life is not the best for healthy eating and I do tend to skip breakfast. When I do eat in the morning, it's always a piece of toast, maybe some cereal or a smoothie. Lunch is soup and a sandwich... or the occasional McDonald's. And dinner is pasta, rice or potatoes with meat and two veg.

Q: Any bad habits?

A: Skipping breakfast and too much sugar, simply because it is easier to grab a bar of chocolate when you are running between classes or having a late night.

Q: Do you drink and/or smoke - if so, how much?

A: I don't smoke but I do have the occasional drink. I only go out one night a week, if even that, and I will have cider or a gin and tonic.

Q: Do you take any health supplements?

A: Omega 3 and the effervescent vitamin C and B ... but only when I remember or I need a boost.

Q: How do you take time out?

A: Playing music and singing in my room on my own, with no pressure to play on stage or in a band. I play guitar and piano, and can't even remember not being able to play a guitar. I got one when I was very young and was always encouraged by my dad, who played too. Another good way to relax is just to have a nice sleep in my bed.

Q: How well do you sleep?

A: Quite well. I always get seven hours' sleep a night.

Q: Do you worry about getting old?

A: I don't think about getting old, in fact, I don't think about the future too much as I prefer to live in the moment. I have two tattoos - a cross on my left ankle alongside a treble clef and a rose on my left bicep - and people say to me 'what are they going to look like when you get old?' But I don't worry about my body ageing, as long as I can stay healthy.

Q: What is your go-to product/habit that keeps you healthy?

A: Going to Slims Healthy Kitchen in Belfast to eat, because the food is healthy and tastes so good. It's lovely to be able to enjoy all the food and know that it is healthy too.

  • Christmas is Coming Around can be downloaded at cdbaby.com/cd/fiveleavesleftfeaturingc or iTunes.apple.com/am/album/christmas-is-coming-around. Proceeds will go to Belfast-based homeless charity The Welcome Organisation. Or you can make a donation to justgiving.com/homelessbelfast or text WEL33 £3 to 70070 to donate £3

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