Shorts: Antioxidant anxiety

Antioxidants: good. Free radicals: bad. That's basically all you need to know. And if you really need more detail, then smoking, vodka, chips: bad. Vegetables, fruit, water: good. That should just about cover it. Anything else is just padding.

So what to make of the new antioxidant scanner I tried out the other week? No blood test is involved, which means no needles and no wait. The aim is to see how high your body's antioxidant levels are - and if it is hanging on to them the way it should - the implication being that the higher the levels, the better your chances of avoiding cancer. I put my hand in the machine and waited. Turns out my levels are off the scale - the wrong end of the scale, unfortunately. Oh dear. I was never good at tests.

Women only

You can't move in most spas these days without setting eyes on the nether regions of some hairy man who has forgotten that he's wearing nothing but a dressing gown. The solution? All-women spas, except they have a reputation for being a bit naff and very smug. Even the Sanctuary, the grande dame of women-only spas, which opened in 1977 and is still going strong, suffers from this: all those women trying so hard to enjoy each other's company and not be weirded out by each other's naked bodies, the swing above the swimming pool - it just feels so, well, 70s. It is also in London, which is hardly conducive to relaxation. But as of next month, Leeds women will have their own luxury day spa as Waterfall opens in Brewery Wharf. More pamper palace than health club, it's hoping to be a modern spa, but without the modern men. Could it work? Go to

Brushes up nicely

Black is officially back on the catwalk - and in the bathroom. With all that fuss about fluoride in toothpaste, along come Lush, purveyors of whiffy natural beauty products, with two new toothpastes made from - wait for it - clay. The first is Black Toothgel, a strangely spicy concoction based on carrageen seaweed which, once you get over the weirdness of cleaning your teeth with something black, tastes rather nice. The White Toothpaste, meanwhile, has a chalky formula, a bit like baking soda, and I'm pretty sure my teeth squeaked after using it. Both come in cute 15g tubes (great for post-garlic lunch emergencies), contain no fluoride and beat chewing parsley. £2.50, from, 01202 668545.

Super shoes

Are those trainers that were going to help rid you of cellulite gathering dust? Don't worry: the fitness world has moved on. The latest craze is Nikken's Cardio Strides, which have weights in the sole. And Earth Shoes, the original negative heel shoe, are enjoying a revival and are so in demand that half the autumn stock has been pre-sold. Don't worry, though: spring/summer ordering begins at the end of the month. From

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