15 Things Every Middle-Aged Woman Needs In Her Handbag

  1. Panty liners and wet wipes – for when you sneeze, cough, laugh or have to jump on a trampoline to pretend you like little kids (and trampolines) at a family kid’s party.
  2. Thick foundation – to cover those break-outs of middle-aged acne or Rosacea triggered by all that intense red wine drinking exercise you’ve done recently.pete-bellis-458961-unsplash
  3. A timer – to make sure you don’t digress from your daily routine of a) pajamas by 3pm b) wine by 5pm, and c) bed by 9pm.
  4. Earplugs – so you can’t hear him when he begs for sex, mansplains or wants a money conversation.
  5. Aldi trolley coin – because one day… they will bring their Churros back.
  6. A backpacker’s expanding travel towel -for hot flushes.
  7. Spanx – in case you bump into another soulmate.
  8. Tweezers – for those rogue hairs that sprout when you’re away from home and are nurtured by office lighting.
  9. A pacifier – to remind you that life isn’t that bad.
  10. Snacks – for those hunger emergencies in between snacks.
  11. A hip flask – for your morning gin.
  12. A mini fan – because…menopause.
  13. Perfume – because you might be invisible, but you can still knock them dead with your scent.
  14. Condom – because you just never know
  15. Valium – In case there’s nowhere to buy coffee.

What have I missed?

What Do You Buy For Your Partner For Christmas?

I’ve been thinking about the agreement the old man agreed to about Christmas presents a while ago, and am now questioning if we made the right decision. seamless-pattern-for-ladies-handbags_GyPhmad__L


Sometimes I think it might be romantic for him to surprise me with a gift on Christmas morning… and then I remember the patterned towel set and the hairdryer. I know with certainty that if I try and trust him and let him loose in the shops this year, I’ll be almost as disappointed this Christmas as the rest of Australia will be if Michelle Bridges isn’t doing squats on breakfast tv while simultaneously breastfeeding Axel, and the old man and I will end up one step closer to divorce.


Other days I think I should give him another chance, but I know what the outcome would be, and it would simply add more stress to what is already the most stressful morning of the year.


To give him carte blanche to waste our hard-earned cash on something awful seems foolish and un-Christian somehow, when there are so many people in need. Isn’t it worse to return a gift that someone has taken time and thought to choose, than to choose it for yourself in the first place and avoid disappointment?


Added to which, his threat of a set of golf clubs has gone beyond a joke.


Christmas is about making people happy, right?


And I know I will be ecstatic with the new handbag I carefully picked out for myself. I would have been happier with the Calvin Klein, OBVIOUSLY, but that was never going to happen while the old man continues to prevaricate about a job that will force him to give up on his daily golf video sessions.


Once upon a time, (in those golden days when he used to still cook a meal for me on Valentines Day), I would force him around the shops behind me so that he experienced some level of pain; but he spoiled even that. He would put me under pressure, like there was some time bomb ticking away in the background, forcing me to choose my gift really quickly to appease his anxiety in malls, just because he was paying.


Every woman knows that choosing the right handbag is like choosing the right man and you should never buy the first one you see, no matter how perfect it may seem at the time. That you have to do your research first and check out all the handbags in each store before you can make the informed decision that perhaps the first one was in fact the right one all along.

Women And Handbags: A Love Story

Rather like what they did to Star Wars, this post is the prequel to Women and Shoes: A Love Story and Women and Chocolate: A Huge fucking Love Story.


You see I treated myself to a new handbag a few weeks ago. Obviously, I had to hide it in the concealment zone for ten days so that the old man wouldn’t realize that I’d spent vast amounts of our hard-earned cash on something so superfluous, but I finally got to flaunt it yesterday.


He hasn’t noticed.


Unlike a lot of women I know, I don’t have a wardrobe of handbags to accessorize with different outfits. I wish I did, but a) the old man doesn’t see the necessity of new clothes so I doubt I’d get the latest Burberry past him, and b) I’d waste valuable drinking energy changing over my shit from one handbag to another.


Can anyone seriously be assed to change all of the shit from one handbag to another, EVERY DAY?


Anyway, I stick to a practical black and brown design that goes with everything and will last me a good couple of years, but I do have a particular weakness fondness for Guess handbags because I like me a bit of tasteful bling. This is this year’s new model:


Women and Handbags: A Love Story
Women and Handbags: A Love Story


So, when I did the two yearly changeover from old to new model this week, even I was slightly impressed appalled by just how much crap I managed to accumulate in one tiny vessel.


My handbag is either a handbag version of Dr Who’s Tardis or Hermione Granger’s beaded handbag with the undetectable extension charm on it.


Here’s what I found:


  • Five lipsticks, all exactly the same shade, although I’m assuming they must have looked different shades in the shop.
  • Twenty-five tampons, which, (and this could be related to Harry Potter again), breed in my handbag until the day I ACTUALLY FUCKING NEED ONE, and they then become invisible. Tampons are always the first objects to fall from my handbag when I drop it, particularly during client meetings.
  • Sixteen pens, which, like their cousin the tampon, are never there when I need them either but then breed overnight.
  • The business cards of every real estate agent in Sydney, some hot some not.
  • Petrol receipts for all those bank reconciliations that I promised the old man I would do two years ago, but never quite got around to.
  • 2 lip balms from Thredbo 2012
  • Four pairs of reading glasses
  • Massive, mother-sized sanitary towels that look as though they should be for incontinence and not menstruation. Just in case I get stuck somewhere like the Arctic, overnight, with my period on its heaviest day. As you do.
  • Neurofen for headaches, Neurofen for hangovers, Neurofen for periods, Neurofen for backache and Neurofen for Teenagers.
  • 3 dog poo bags in case I get caught short. These are also handy when you pick up drunken teenagers and their hanger-on friends from parties, who assure you that they can hold onto their alcohol until the car starts moving.
  • Notebook – for that moment in the craft of writing when inspiration will assault my senses and send me that life-changing, millionaire-making idea that I have to write down immediately in case I forget it. The notebook is still blank.


What crap do you pack into your handbag?

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Guess What My Handbag Says About Me

So I mega-treated myself to this beautilicious Guess handbag for my birthday. Yes, I admit that I am one of those sad older women who gets nearly as excited by handbags as the thought of hot young men. It was a birthday gift from the old man……but I bought it…….you know how it is. (We’ve been married a long time.)

I know that the fashionistas amongst you will smirk unkindly at my description of my Guess handbag as designer, but for me it felt like I’d won the lottery, having been fashion spending-deprived by the financial constraints of the tightus accuntus for far too long. I’ve also only recently reached the conclusion that accessories are the way forward in any future shopping exploits, as anything else looks so f*cking bollocks on my new delightfully (NOT) fuller menopausal figure. If handbags and shoes can rock Carrie Bradshaw’s boat, they’re good enough for me. 

So I spotted this bag, all wanton-looking, perched on squeaky-clean glass shelving in the Guess shop, and I simply HAD to have it.

I got all hot and flustered because it was reduced by a massive fifty bucks, which bought it down into the old man’s ‘affordable’ range, (because he seems to think that we’re on the poverty line, unless we have to buy anything Apple of course). It was still a little more than I’d usually be comfortable parting with, but because it was a birthday gift he had allowed me, (as a treat, obviously), to trade up from KMart. Have I mentioned before, that the old man is an accountant?

And although it’s new, (and so not ‘officially’ old, obviously), my spontaneity in purchasing the aforementioned bag was primarily fuelled by my (not-thinking AT ALL) shopping high, and in my mind at the time, it had a stylishly quaint, vintage quality to it. And as I live permanently in every shade of black conceivable, from charcoal to jet, (because, albeit funereal, the magazines insist that it knocks off kilos), its stylish combination of black and latte coloured leather just seemed too good to be true.

(It had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the deliciously toned, young Italian salesman with the melting chocolate accent who couldn’t keep his eyes off the tween, while collectively calling us both ‘beeeeutiful girls’.)

The thing about buying a new piece of clothing or accessory, in the world of women, is that you know pretty quickly if it’s a hit or a miss.

That’s what real friends are for. You see they put it out there if it’s a good buy, (even if a small part of them dies a little), but they’ll remain as tight-lipped as a schoolteacher if you look like a fugger.

So as much as I’m loving my new handbag, working my vintage Hepburnesque strut with it casually thrown over my shoulder, there is the slight sinking feeling in my gut that maybe it’ s not so much ‘vintage’ as bordering ‘Nana’ in style.

If you read Cosmopolitan, you will know that there is a very fine line between the two style statements, (as well as how to give the perfect blow job).

Like huge Brigitte Jones/boy-cut undies, a look tantalisingly hot on young girls, they  just look plain awful clinging to the love handles of a woman in her late forties, taking on the persona of an incontinence aid. It’s like letting your hair go prematurely grey – you can just about get away with it if you’re Kelly Osborne. Actually, you can’t.

I’m still making a stand against the aging process, although not in a Botox and fake breast kind of way, but I’m still a long way from trading alcohol for herbal tea. And I admit that I might have made a fashion error with my Guess handbag.

Because the more I look at it, discerningly, like they would on Fashion Police, the more I conjure up images of my own grandmother at Sunday afternoon High Tea, with a spookily similar handbag in which she carefully kept her handkerchief (for wiping our mouths at every opportunity), her Avon powder compact, peach lipstick and horn-rimmed reading glasses. And that image makes me shrivel with unparalleled fear.

This is exactly how it pans out, the aging process. It surreptitiously envelops you like a dark, dank fog in the night, and before you know it you’re trading social events for hot chocolate and separate bedrooms.

So I’ve begun to question my choices this week. I’ve archived the handbag for the time being, to give me time to think about how it is marketing me. And I’ve invested in some trendy little Chanel reading glasses, and re-introduced my prematurely retired breast tissue to some new-fangled, underwired, uplifting technology.

‘We will never surrender’.