It’s been a couple weeks since I blogged about my foray into professional teeth whitening. If you remember I signed up for Enlighten treatment at Smile Stylist in House of Fraser Manchester.

My moulds took about seven days before they were ready for collection and they came with two syringes full of carbomide peroxide (which needs to be kept in the fridge.)

The first stage of the process is pretty straight-forward:

  1. Brush your teeth
  2. Apply a small amount of gel to each tooth area in the mould
  3. Press mould firmly against teeth and leave for one hour
  4. When complete, rinse thoroughly.

I’ve heard rumours about how uncomfortable this can be and how sensitive your teeth are afterwards. Fortunately I’ve experience neither of these side effects. In fact, the only thing I’ve found bothersome is not drinking red wine for two weeks!

After the first session my teeth looked instantly whiter.  I continued to notice small improvements for the first few days but then it seemed to plateau. I’m now ready for the final stage, which takes place at the dentist’s and uses a laser to really get those teeth glowing white.

Once this is complete I’ll post some lovely before and after pictures. Bet you can’t wait eh?


By Michael Travers


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It’s amazing how many people have not heard of Malham Cove – and I was one of them.  It seems to be off-the-beaten-track for even some very well-practiced walkers and countryphiles, which means it’s not full of hordes of tourists, but given its sheer stark beauty and amazing history, it’s difficult to understand why.

You get to the Cove itself by walking about 2 miles up from the pretty little village of Malham which has plenty of parking (free and otherwise!).  As you get closer the sheer scale begins to dawn upon you and eventually, if you walk as close in as you can get, which we did, you are faced with an 80metres high sheer limestone cliff face.  This was once a waterfall – fed by a glacier that was  2km beyond the top of the cove in the moors and started melting some 50,000 years ago. We were taken aback by this story as it looks like someone could have turned off the tap at the top a few weeks ago! As you move towards climbing up to the top, some very well-thought out and carefully placed interpretation boards tell you more about this fascinating story – so, the last time water (anything like a waterfall) was seen coming over the top was in the early 18th century, and that was due to a particularly wet winter!

The walk to the top takes a bit of effort – something like 400 roughly hewn steps (but that’s part of the fun, as it doesn’t feel like a theme park!) – but when you get there the view is absolutely stunning across vast swathes of Yorkshire below and further moorland beyond which would have been the site of the original glacier that fed the waterfall.  All of this enhanced by the less natural site of climbers scaling the limestone and some fell-runners trying to look impressive, but just look bonkers, frankly!

A fantastic morning’s adventure – but don’t tell everyone as they’ll spoil it!!!


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Planning the perfect weekend away is harder than you think. The careful of balance of location vs. driving distance; activity vs. tranquillity.

After much searching we chose a beautiful looking B&B in the quiet town of Howarth in the heart of Bronte Country. Ashmount Country House promised ‘luxury accommodation set amongst some of the most beautiful landscapes in the UK.’

The hour long drive from Manchester took closer to two in Friday night rush-hour traffic, but we still arrived at the reasonable hour of 7pm. Greeted with a super-friendly welcome we were shown to our stunning room, Suite Dreams 21, situated across the road from the main house.

Elegant and well finished, the room really did feel luxurious, and the window-side cast iron bath and four-poster bed gave that ‘wow’ factor.

Back in the main house there’s a stunning Drawing Room to relax and enjoy the Honesty Bar. A word of warning here… It’s only the following day when you check the book do you realise just how honest you can be!

Breakfast was a hearty affair with a wide selection of hot and cold food available. Service was efficient and friendly, even first thing in the morning. The restaurant at Ashmount is also worth a mention. The food served in the evening was fantastic, and the intimate dining space really added to the homely atmosphere.

In terms of location Ashmount is perfect. Just a minute walk to the centre of Howarth, and from there it’s only a few paces in any direction before you’re in the heart of the moors. We chose a walk to the famous Bronte Waterfall, which, despite a minor hailstorm, was most refreshing…. even after a night in the Honesty Bar!

There’s not much else to do in Howarth apart from visit the Bronte museum (which we didn’t) or pop into a few tourist shops (which we did.) But if you’re looking for a relaxing break, Ashmount is a great choice – beautiful location, fantastic accommodation and a quick, easy drive from central Manchester. Highly recommended.


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travs teeth2“You can have a brace, if you really want one?” the dentist said. At 14 years old I thought I had enough issues to deal with so politely declined.

Nine years later I paid £3,000 to a private dentist to correct that regrettable decision. Now my teeth are pretty much perfect.

But years of coffee and red wine (and more red wine) have taken their toll and my smile lacks that Hollywood sparkle. I’ve tried various home treatments from the Internet but nothing’s had the results I wanted.

With a Birthday and holiday looming, action had to be taken.

I made an appointment with Smile Stylist at House of Fraser Manchester. With celebrity clients such as Catherine Tyldesley, Michelle Keegan, Shobna Gulati, Georgia May Foote, Jorgie Porter and Ray Quinn you know I’m in safe hands.

The Enlighten treatment I’ve chosen has the power to lighten your teeth up to 16 shades through a combination of home and in chair treatment.  Sounds perfect.

My initial appointment was quick and painless. After a brief consultation and a few photographs, an impression was made of my upper and lower teeth. While as this wasn’t exactly pleasurable, it was completely painless and over before I knew it.

In seven days my moulds will be ready to collect and I’ll be ready to start my at-home treatment.

For a front row seat to all the action, make sure you stay tuned. I’ll be documenting my progress and of course the final results…


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dame1 copy
When you’re thinking about things to do – often going to gigs or the theatre – you come across things which make you think ‘shall we?’.  These are a long way from the ‘must get up at 8am on a Saturday morning and have three laptops at the ready for the on-sale’ moments and the Barry Humphries Farwell Tour was one of these ‘take it or leave it’ things.  Given that we were getting tickets for several other things, we decided to go for it – after all , we’ve never seen Dame Edna  and she never fails to amuse – and she didn’t.

A night at the theatre is always slightly marred when it involves going to the now very run-down Manchester Opera House and this one wasn’t any different – queues to get into the building, queues to walk down a corridor, queues for the loos and no sign of a queue, but just an unruly and uncomfortable scrum, at the tiny bar.  Anyway, settling in for the first half Les Patterson was funny enough – some complete belly laugh moments like his reference to new character Gerard Patterson (a very new Humphries creation and the ‘theatrical’ brother of Les) as ‘a v@gina-decliner’ – but then things took a turn.  As part of his farewell tour Humphries unearthed one of his earliest characters, Sandy Stone – a hauntingly-pale ghostly figure who has had a life of family tragedy.  Whilst this foray into dark humour was a tangent to the ‘in your face’ (literally if you were in the front row) style of Les, it put an enormous dampner on the mood.  A bad call Mr Humphries….but at least we’d pre-ordered a whole bottle of interval wine for the two of us, and OMG did we need it!

It’s fair to say that Dame Edna is timeless and Humphries freely admitted trotting out old material and tricks, but it worked as it all seemed so fresh.  This is clearly the character where he comes into his own and she hasn’t lost any of the wittiness and edge that has made her a household name across generations (Humphries first donned the purple wig and specs in 1955!).  Once the laughter got going pre-interval memories faded (although the ¾ pint of wine each helped too) and it was time for the tried and tested finale – Gladi-waving!  Following this, a rather touching final word from the man himself, with some lovely reference to his family connections to Manchester, and we were done.

All in all a mixed bag….’Should we have?’….probably, but once was enough and will definitely give the next Farewell Tour a miss!


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After several Breaking-Bad-obsessed months, I found myself at a bit of loss after watching the final episode. I missed Walt. I missed Jessie too. Hell, I even missed Skyler (not so much.)

What I really missed was something to pass the time during the dark winter nights. Something to fill the Breaking Bad void.

Fortunately, Netflix presented me with a rather attractive solution.

Orange is the New Black is an American comedy series that revolves around Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling), a bisexual New Yorker who’s sent to prison for a crime committed in her past. As Chapman struggles to adjust to the new surroundings and unfamiliar faces we learn about her past and, more interestingly, the sworded history of her fellow inmates.

Queue some semi-graphic lesbian sex scenes, highly unlucky situations, a touch of violence and a barrel of laughs.

Despite the serious undertone of the show, don’t expect the hard-core violence found in ITV’s Bad Girls or more recently Wentworth, a remake of Australia’s renowned Prisoner in Cell Block H.

Season 1 is a great introduction to the show and the character development throughout the episodes will keep you tuning in again and again. I won’t even mention the jaw-dropping series finale (doh, I just did.)

Roll on 6 June when Season 2 will be hitting our screens with a vengeance.


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Next weekend is the return of the Interlaw annual Winter Carnival at The Ivy to benefit the Albert Kennedy Trust.

Last year was a fantastic. But you don’t need me to tell you that it was a fabulous star-studded evening… See for yourself.

With some great celebs already confirmed for this year’s party, make sure you stay tuned to find out what Brandy and Coke get up to.

Charlie Condou, Jane Hill and Sir Ian McKellen

Rylan Clark


Robin Windsor


Jodie Harsh

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