You don’t have to be the most organised person on the planet to seem like one. Just pack your handbag with these essentials and forget about them – until you really need them. (PS I’m assuming you can remember to pack your own wallet, phone, sunnies and spare tampons)

  1. Mini sunscreen – Sometimes you find yourself (or your children) outdoors when you thought you’d be inside all day. A small tube or roll-on of sunscreen will ensure nobody needs to get burnt.
  2. Hand sanitizer – maybe you want to pat a cute puppy dog in the street and then go out for lunch. Maybe there isn’t soap in the ladies’. Maybe there’s a cold going around and you want a little extra protection. Maybe your kids are … well … gross, in that kid-way. For a multitude of reasons, carrying a small bottle of this stuff can put your mind at rest.
  3. Safety pins – useful for quick fixes of hats, clothing, shoes, bags. Just really really handy.
  4. Hair-ties – if you’ve got long hair or you have children with long hair, this is really a no-brainer. You’d be surprised how often it comes up.
  5. First aid – band-aids, antiseptic cream, headache tablets. Carrying a couple of Panadols or Nurofens in your purse is a really great idea, especially if you’re prone to headaches. It’s not so practical to carry around a bottle of children’s pain relief and measuring cup, but a bandaid can cure a multitude of ailments and all the little people you help out will think you’re a superperson when you produce one.
  6. Small notebook and pen(s) – Firstly, it’s great for jotting down shopping lists or to-do lists. Secondly, if you are accompanied anywhere by a little person and you want to keep them busy, get them to draw pictures for you. It’s a great way to distract them while you have a coffee with a friend.
  7. Small pack of tissues – if you have children, the uses for tissues multiply exponentially.
  8. Small bottle of water – I loathe buying water, but with the absence of bubblers these days you need to be prepared for when your child announces that they are dying of thirst.
  9. Phone charger – You never know when you might be called into an emergency situation in which you need to make lots of calls and wait around (therefore need to play games or read books or check social media on your phone). Trips to the hospital are made easier with a portable phone charger.
  10. Earphones – If I’ve got a long walk, a long train ride, or I just don’t want to listen to other people on public transport, I pop the earphones in and tune into a podcast or my music. I don’t go anywhere without them.