Is it safe to use last year's suncare?

Q.  How long do suncreams last?  I have several half-finished tubes from last year but don’t want to risk getting burnt.

A.  The answer is probably about 12 months, according to Dr. Susan Mayou, consultant dermatologist at London’s Cadogan Clinic. ‘Look at the expiry date on the bottom of the container,’ she advises.

Few of us apply sufficient product to achieve the spf (sun protection factor) on the label, she adds.  Choose a broad-spectrum UVA/UVB water-resistant sunscreen, at least SPF15, and spread it evenly over your whole body, not forgetting ears, back, knees and feet.

You need about two teaspoonfuls for head, arms and neck, and two tablespoonfuls to cover your whole body, while wearing a swimming costume, according to Cancer Research UK’s Sunsmart Campaign (



FREEFROMAt least one in every 100 people suffers from the serious autoimmune condition coeliac disease and must eliminate gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye, from their diet as it damages the lining of the small intestine (

A significant number of coeliacs are also intolerant of lactose, a type of sugar mainly found in milk and dairy products. Add to this a range of other food allergies and sensitivities and an estimated 17 per cent of us are discovering that we feel better if we avoid some common food ingredients, mainly gluten and dairy products.

Of course, that restricts what you can eat and drink, but take heart! The FreeFrom Food Awards will be announced this Tuesday, giving details of all sorts of comestibles rigorously trialled by a panel of judges recruited by Foods Matter, the leading allergy and intolerance website (

‘The awards were designed to shout about new foods for people with coeliac disease and food allergies,’ explains Foods Matter founder Michelle Berriedale-Johnson. ‘But as more people experiment with “free from” products for food sensitivities and as a general health measure, the number of foods on offer has rocketed.’

Short-listed delicacies include gluten-free Freedom Deli Tuna Melt Panini, gluten-free Afia Spicy Mix Vegetable Samosa, gluten-free Cornito Sea Waves Corn and Potato Pasta, and Vivesoy Cappuccino Soy Milk. For the full short list, and the final winners (from Wednesday morning), visit  (And to find any of those products on-line, just click on the name.)



It’s not often this page features fashion advice, but since my colleagues on the fashion desk have become born-again FitFlop fans (the features desk have been devoted, as I have, for years), I thought you would enjoy their tips.

FitFlop GladdaThis genius footwear range features a deep platform sole with a built-in gym to exercise your legs as you dash about. It has what’s scientifically called micro-wobble-board technology that activates muscles in your legs. This not only helps them look more shapely (also the plumptious sole is wonderfully leg-lengthening) but helps problems from back and pelvic pain to plantar fasciitis and arthritic knees.

• Junior fashion editor Sinead O’Connell raves that the black leather FitFlop Shuvs/£90 - buy here - are ‘extremely comfy, great for running around town in… The classic style works well with grey skinny jeans, white shirt and navy blazer, or a simple Cos shift dress and thick grey tights’.

• Senior fashion assistant Philippa Bloom went for the ‘fab’ Gladda (pictured here)/£120 - buy here - declaring, ‘I’m very happy to have such fashion-forward sandals: I’ll team them with cute shorts.’

• Features editor Rosalind Lowe declares ‘My comfy and cool-looking Summas have two adjustable straps with buckles, which are perfect for people like me with wide feet and a high instep.’  FitFlops Summas/£80 - buy here.

• Our 78-year-old with dodgy knees declares her leather Super T Sneakers/£90 - buy here - ‘brilliant’ and the opposite of frumpy.

• Our male tester loves his Lewis Suede/£100 - buy here - which (importantly for him) look ‘smart casual and emphatically not like orthopaedic shoes’.

For more information and to buy, visit (or click on the names above)



About now, exam-taking teens and their parents tend to be getting pretty stressed about revision. One mother recommends this website, set up by a young Australian ‘who wanted to work out how top students did it’. As well as offering workshops in schools, led by cool young presenters who really connect with the students, the website offers advice in articles including ‘Attention, study and the Facebook effect’. PS There are useful tips for all home workers.