Nothing shouts “I’m a mum!” like pulling a breast pad out of your bag when you’re looking for a pen. You can hide a mum tum under a well-chosen top, but if your baby tips your handbag out in public, your half-squeezed mouldy pouches and health-hazard dummies are there for all to see.
I love a good nose into other people’s handbags – via blogposts, you understand: I don’t rifle through real bags. So when M&S Baby asked me to share my handbag story, I was happy to join in.
Handbags: Before and After Children
The bag: Before: Small, smart, sexy, leather. After: An ancient, grubby sports rucksack. Because it’s hands-free and it’s there.
The stationery: What girl doesn’t love her stationery? Before, I had a smart diary, a notebook and a pink pen (always). Now, I still have a diary but the appointments are more “doc re worms (query?)” than “cocktails at 5pm”. And it has squished fruit bar on the cover. Crumpled receipts are my notepaper, and my writing tool is a broken crayon.
The cosmetics: Before, an Estee Lauder compact, full make-up bag. Now: Vaseline. No job is more parching than that of mother. And it’s also good for baby’s bottom.
The clothes: Before, a fine knit for the cooler air on the way home. Now, a balled-up babygrow in a nappy bag that I forgot to put in the wash. And a single glove.
The toys: Before, A BlackBerry. Now, random bits of Lego, like the Penguin-Dalek pictured above. And a Hex Bug, that frightens the bejesus out of me every time I see or touch it.
Snacks: Before, health bars from the juice cafe. Now, half-eaten biscuits and – sometimes – apple cores. But no raisins. After years of giving my three children raisins, I’ve noticed that the rate of one going in the actual mouth is 1:1000. I have stopped buying them.
Comforter: Before: a gin tin. Now, a gritty dummy.
I don’t think I’ll ever have a crumb-free handbag again, but I can still dream of a changing bag upgrade. The new dedicated baby section on marksandspencer.com – M&S Baby has a huge range of gorgeous baby goods, from the practical (bottles, weaning spoons and so on, which you may not have realised they stock) to the downright beautiful. I love this gorgeous changing bag (below), full of practical features and in the colour of the season. I have all boys but I think they would rock the flamingo fairground babygrow pictured below, and I love the pack of bodysuits in five fab colours, which wash brilliantly and would last to hand down if I were to have another baby. Now, that would be an excuse for a new changing bag…
My Dream Changing Bag
Clockwise, from top left: SKIP HOP M&S Exclusive Deluxe Blue Pinpoint £65.00, 5 Pack Pure Cotton Striped Bodysuits £13.00 – £14.00, Three Pack Girls Fairground Toucan Sleepsuits £15.00 – £16.00, Cotton Rich Teddy Face Bib £4.00, 2 Fish Buggy Toy £10.00, VITAL Baby Weaning Set £4.00, Contemporary Vibrant Yellow Stripe A6 Notebook £4.00, Elegant Gentle Pink Ballpoint Pen £3.00, SKIP HOP Zoo Straw Bottle – Monkey £6.50, MAM Perfect Night Soother.