What is in your bag?
I confess that mine is a complete disaster zone. It doesn’t matter whether I have a big or small bag, I seem to cram it full of a variety of things, some useful, some completely useless. And can I ever find the things that I actually need, when I need them? Hell no.
Long gone are those lovely days when I could go out of the house with a tiny bag with the bare essentials inside. Long gone. These days I feel like I need to take so many things, just in case. It isn’t quite as bad as the baby days when it did feel quite literally like I was taking the kitchen sink and all.
These days big bags are my favourite and I am a huge fan of Mia Tui bags with their pockets and inserts to make life easier. That should make me have a completely organised bag but it doesn’t. Well, it does for a few days and then chaos returns. But none the less, I do love my bag and it does fit in everything I need without breaking my shoulder.
Now that summer does look as though it might be finally making an appearance, I don’t know about you but I am looking forward to lots of family days out. Having spent most of the Easter holidays desperately rummaging in my bag, I am thinking about those summer essentials, what do mums need to keep in their bags to help those summer holidays and days out, run more smoothly.
Purse and keys
This goes without saying, doesn’t it? You would think so. I always triple check that I have both. We went through a phase a couple of years ago when I forgot my keys quite a few times and we ended up being locked out of the house. This is no fun with three kids I can tell you. Also, three kids on a day out with no money is a tad frustrating too, so it is always best to make sure… just in case.
Of course, you need your phone, how else would you be able to Instagram the hell out of your days out. But on a practical note, phones are essential these days for directions, finding somewhere to have lunch, taking photos, checking out the best things to do, finding where the nearest Costa Coffee is (this is one I do A LOT) and of course it can provide a distraction for the small person who keeps asking you if we are nearly there yet.
This is something that I have done for a few months now and it is so useful. Yes, of course, you have your purse, but a separate pocket which contains a few pounds is amazing. If you run out of change and need money for car parking or forget your purse and need money for ice cream, it can be really handy. You never know.
Wet Wipes and Tissues
Essentials. Absolutely have to have both of these in my bag at all times, summer or not. Whether you have babes in arms or giant teenagers, you will still need them for sticky hands, runny noses and everything else in between.
Medicine and Plasters
The sunnier weather does hopefully mean the end of those winter sniffles but with it comes a whole new host of health problems. Hayfever is a particular problem at this time of year and the symptoms can be pretty horrid, so keep those tissues handy and also carrying something like this nasal spray can be a great help.
I also keep a few sachets of children’s paracetamol and ibuprofen and some in tablet form too just in case along with those all-important plasters because, let’s face it, many trips to the park lead to at least one plaster being needed.
Travel Sized Games
You don’t want to carry around a whole array of games in your bag as you would need a suitcase, but small pocket sized games are easy to slip in your bag. Uno is one of my favourites, Pass the Pigs, Top Trumps or even just a packet of playing cards, these games don’t take up much space but can come in really handy if you need something to keep everyone entertained.
Notebook, Pens and Pencils
A small notebook is a good idea for reminders, shopping lists on the go, for entertainment such as drawing, playing noughts and crosses, writing your memoirs or those all important blog post ideas. A notebook isn’t much use without pens and pencils and I also keep a tiny pack of colouring pencils tucked away too.
Snacks and a Bottle of Water
Wherever we go, I always try and take at least one snack for each of my kids, something small and light like a snack bar is perfect as it will survive for a few weeks if you forget about it. A small bottle of water is another essential as you can guarantee that within ten minutes of leaving the house, someone will be dying of thirst.
You can buy really small bottles of hand sanitiser for those moments when handwashing isn’t an option. We recently spent an hour in an amusement arcade and after handling far too many grimy two pence pieces, I was very grateful to have some sanitiser in my bag.
Whether it is for you, the kids or both, this is another essential.
When you are running around with the kids, it is easy to get caught out, so it is always worth popping a couple of tampons or pads in your bag so that you don’t have to panic if you do.
Yes, yes, I know it is so rare that we actually need suncream here in the UK that this doesn’t exaclty top the ‘essential’ list. However, the joy of the Great British weather is that it can catch us out and be pouring with rain one minute and scorchingly hot the next. Most brands do small travel sized bottles which are hand bag size, I personally love the little roll on sun creams as not only are they small but they are really easy to apply on reluctant kids.
A Small Zip Bag
I have a small see-through bag that came with my bag and it is perfect. In it, I keep medicines, lip balm, plasters, suncream and hand sanitiser. That way, all of those things are kept together and if there are any leakages, they won’t coat the inside of my bag.
Since the rule came in that we have to pay for carrier bags, this is an essential money-saving tip too, but carrier bags are essential for mums for so many different reasons. Over the years, I have used them as impromptu picnic blankets, makeshift umbrellas, to carry toys, footballs, shells or rocks or even to hold wet clothes, all sorts. They don’t take a lot of room in your bag and I would always add them to my list of essentials.
So those are my summer handbag essentials, kitchen sink not included and all perfectly doable without needed wheels to carry it around. What would you add to the list?