All Day All Year by Sisley

If creams are so expensive I have no hope of ever buying them, it makes me nervous. Who wants to fal

£179, 50ml

Launched: 2005
Tested: throughout 2007 and 2008
Stockists: 020 7591 6380.


: Sisley will not provide full disclosure of ingredients saying that “All ingredients are listed on product packaging so it’s (sic) easily obtainable by customers.”

This day cream is aimed at those over the age of 25. The premise is that it provides protection (SPF 8) from UVA and UVB, but not 100% (in fact, 90%). The idea being that 100% protection eventually leaves the skin unable to defend itself. This protection also lasts for eight hours, hence the All Day part of the name. The All Year bit refers to the fact that even in winter our skin needs protecting from sun, wind, pollution.

When I was handed this cream to test, I knew it was expensive (at the time I think it was ‘only’ £150) so I hesitated. If creams are so expensive I have no hope of ever buying them, it makes me nervous. Who wants to fall in love with the unattainable? Unfortunately, this cream is excellent. To really know if it works of course, one would have to do a more scientific test: one half of the face wears it the other doesn’t. What I can tell you is that it made a significant different to the texture and condition of my skin almost immediately, and in secondary testing (on a separate person) the results were visible. I love the fact that you don’t have to worry about sunscreen, you just put this on of a morning but sadly the cost is such that it’s out of the reach of most people, me included. However: highly recommended.

Annalisa Barbieri was in fashion PR for five years before going to the Observer to be fashion assistant. She has worked for the Evening Standard and the Times and was one of the fashion editors on the Independent on Sunday for five years, where she wrote the Dear Annie column. She was fishing correspondent of the Independent from 1997-2004.
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For the first time in my life I have a sworn enemy – and I don’t even know her name

The cyclist, though, was enraged. “THAT’S CLEVER, ISN’T IT?” she yelled. “WALKING IN THE ROAD!”

Last month, I made an enemy. I do not say this lightly, and I certainly don’t say it with pride, as a more aggressive male might. Throughout my life I have avoided confrontation with a scrupulousness that an unkind observer would call out-and-out cowardice. A waiter could bring the wrong order, cold and crawling with maggots, and in response to “How is everything?” I’d still manage a grin and a “lovely, thanks”.

On the Underground, I’m so wary of being a bad citizen that I often give up my seat to people who aren’t pregnant, aren’t significantly older than me, and in some cases are far better equipped to stand than I am. If there’s one thing I am not, it’s any sort of provocateur. And yet now this: a feud.

And I don’t even know my enemy’s name.

She was on a bike when I accidentally entered her life. I was pushing a buggy and I wandered – rashly, in her view – into her path. There’s little doubt that I was to blame: walking on the road while in charge of a minor is not something encouraged by the Highway Code. In my defence, it was a quiet, suburban street; the cyclist was the only vehicle of any kind; and I was half a street’s length away from physically colliding with her. It was the misjudgment of a sleep-deprived parent rather than an act of malice.

The cyclist, though, was enraged. “THAT’S CLEVER, ISN’T IT?” she yelled. “WALKING IN THE ROAD!”

I was stung by what someone on The Apprentice might refer to as her negative feedback, and walked on with a redoubled sense of the parental inadequacy that is my default state even at the best of times.

A sad little incident, but a one-off, you would think. Only a week later, though, I was walking in a different part of town, this time without the toddler and engrossed in my phone. Again, I accept my culpability in crossing the road without paying due attention; again, I have to point out that it was only a “close shave” in the sense that meteorites are sometimes reported to have “narrowly missed crashing into the Earth” by 50,000 miles. It might have merited, at worst, a reproving ting of the bell. Instead came a familiar voice. “IT’S YOU AGAIN!” she yelled, wrathfully.

This time the shock brought a retort out of me, probably the harshest thing I have ever shouted at a stranger: “WHY ARE YOU SO UNPLEASANT?”

None of this is X-rated stuff, but it adds up to what I can only call a vendetta – something I never expected to pick up on the way to Waitrose. So I am writing this, as much as anything, in the spirit of rapprochement. I really believe that our third meeting, whenever it comes, can be a much happier affair. People can change. Who knows: maybe I’ll even be walking on the pavement

Mark Watson is a stand-up comedian and novelist. His most recent book, Crap at the Environment, follows his own efforts to halve his carbon footprint over one year.

This article first appeared in the 20 October 2016 issue of the New Statesman, Brothers in blood