handbag saviours picture


We recently became THAT family, you know, the ones that make you groan. You’re sitting there at a table for two, about to order from some lovely menu; maybe have a few wines and some quiet conversation. And then THAT family walks in. There are lots of them (in our case 11) and include children of an age you know will not sit quietly and let you eat peacefully. Even the process of them choosing seats and setting up their kids is putting your teeth on edge as you see the intimate peacefulness of your night disintegrate.

I did feel bad for the other customers but it was also good being on the other side as I’m hoping it gives me more understanding and tolerance the next time THAT family invades the space I’m in.

The occasion was hubby’s birthday and we decided we wanted to spend it with our family. Winter in the mountains is pretty chilly so a barbeque was out. Hosting at home presented space issues as we’d have to stay indoors. Due to everyone’s work commitments, we had to book the second sitting (8.15 pm) at one of our favourite local restaurants. I knew it was late for the Goddesses –at 2, 3 and 4 years old they are usually in bed by then. But I figured we rarely did this sort of thing so we’d risk it.

They were wonderful! They have never been brought up to be seen and not heard so yes, they did laugh and chat and even got off their chairs several times (we kind of had them corralled between some of us adults and the wall so they couldn’t reach the other tables). I may be biased (well, that’s a certainty) but I truly believe they did us proud.


However, I will take some credit as I had with me a handbag worthy of Mary Poppins. Even my own kids, used to my attention to details in many things, were amazed and impressed by what came out of that bag and how well it occupied our GOGs.

handbag essentials


There were dolls with hairbrushes, notepads and pencils (kept them busy for ages) and even those paint pads that only require a brush and water (I even remembered to bring tiny cups for the water so as not to use the restaurant’s glasses).

It was not til right at the end of the night that the novelty of these things wore off. At that point, the older GOGs were happy to watch a show on a mobile phone (how did we ever survive without them?) while the youngest had fun flicking through the photos on my phone.

I don’t normally try to impersonate Mary Poppins with my amazing bag. I have learned though how great it is to have a few choice things with you at all times. There have been a few spontaneous get-togethers where my handbag treasures have almost saved the day.

Of course, the most obvious essential is the small packet of wipes. These are useful even without grandkids but an absolute necessity when they’re around.


Several years ago when the babies were newer, we had a family get together to watch one of our sons go skydiving. Somehow every one of us forgot to bring sunscreen. Crazy, huh? We live right under that big old ozone hole and yet not one of us thought to cater to that baby skin. Luckily there were many huge trees offering shade so no one was hurt, but I do have baby sunscreen in my handbag all the time now.

One time we had taken the oldest Goddess, then two, to the doctor as hubby had an appointment. While waiting in reception, I’d gone through just about all my grandkid bribe things and GOG was bored.

She was standing just inside the entrance and could have been knocked over if anyone walked in. But I could tell by the look on her face if I tried to force her to sit with me she would prove why the word two is usually proceeded by “terrible’’, in relation to kids.

I then wrapped my hands around a tiny measuring tape I always carried. You can pull the tape out but when you push a button, it slides back in automatically. I started playing with it; pulling the tape out, then hitting the button. Within seconds GOG was beside me sitting happily as she played with that tape measure for the next 15 minutes – massive save!

handbag essentials picture

Do you remember those puzzle rings that used to be all the rage in the 70s? They have about fours strands that fit together in a very precise way. Amazingly I still have mine. When my sons were young and we were going on long trips I always wore mine. When the boys became bored I’d take it off and pull it apart so they could take turns putting it back together. This kept them happy for ages. I will definitely be bringing that one out for the GOGs when they’re a bit bigger.

I have a little bag in my big bag that is reserved just for the Goddesses. They know when we’re out they can go in my bag and take theirs when they want it. Their bag has a mirror, a lip gloss (what can I say? I’m still celebrating having all these girls after all those boys) paper and pencils (definitely an essential), a lipstick case which is house to a tiny troll and a little scrap-booking dolly, a little torch and my new favourite, the multi-coloured pen. This pen not only has the benefit of all the colours, but they love the action of pushing down one part to make the colour change – so much fun!

handbag essentials picture

So, the 5 things every grandmother needs in her handbag?

  1. Face wipes
  2. Sunscreen – bug spray is also a good idea in summer
  3. Paper
  4. Pens/pencils
  5. A couple of really cool (and tiny) toys

Wishing you gleeful outings – Tamuria