Pure potions skin salvation

A rich and steroid-free treatment for eczema, that doesn't leave a sting

£6.30, 30ml
£11, 60ml
£16.50, 120ml (£14.50 if you buy three jars or more)

Stockists: www.purepotions.co.uk, tel: 01273 623123

Launched: October 2002

* produced under organic standards
*Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Beeswax,
*Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil,
*Cannabis Sativa (Hemp) Seed Oil,
Aqua (Water), Alcohol (from tinctures),
*Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract,
*Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract,
*Stellaria Media (Chickweed) Extract,
*Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Extract

I use this every day on my daughter’s now, mercifully, diminishing patches of eczema. It’s a steroid free salve, extremely rich and easy to apply. By that I mean it’s already soft (but, crucially when you’re dealing with children, manageable) and it doesn’t sting on application; it’s instantly soothing. This is important because there are some natural eczema creams out there that do help, but they sting when you first put them on, and this just causes more stress for babies and children. Skin Salve can be applied on any sort skin patch: elbows, knees etc, but it really excels in treating eczema.

I’m not going to pretend it cures eczema, because so far no one knows what causes it, let alone what can cure it. But it really helps soothe, and we use it every day in conjunction with the very occasional use of hydrocortisone cream for when the eczema gets too itchy.

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