How To… prepare a “ladies’ kit”.

This post will discuss menstrual matters. Most men may not need to read this or feel comfortable reading it. However, if you are a woman, have daughters or just want to take care of someone who’s having a hard time this month, then the language will be kept polite and clear.

This is part VI of my ongoing “housekeeper’s kits” series. Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV and Part V at these links.

1: The bag.

You will be wanting something discreet, that can absorb odors (such as those from scented sanitary pads, creams or medication) and preferably that looks pretty. I chose a single compartment make-up bag for mine. It’s black, so any lotion or medicine spills won’t show and it absorbs and masks light smells quite well, though a lavender pouch is never superfluous.

2: The essentials.

Obviously, if this kit is a menstrual kit, you will need your basics. Also, if you’re making the kit for yourself, try and be sure to have your closer friends’ preferred basics as well, and some emergency items in case your usual items run out, break or just aren’t cutting it. I use a cup, but I still keep the following for emergencies.

-spare black underwear (because it always seems to be in the laundry when you need it most)

-pads

-tampons

-slips

-sanitary disposal bags

-cleaning equipment for reusable items

3: Extra hygiene.

Regardless of how much you want it to be, this time of the month can get messy. Other basics you could use are:

-a sponge for cleaning external porcelain stains

-well-sealed baby wipes that will treat you more delicately then the usuals

-flannels you can use with warm water for your hands

-some baby shampoo and peroxide in case of emergency stain treatment

4: The medicals.

And some of us need the odd medical treatment from time to time over that time of the month. If you do, keep the medicine in the bag, so you know where it is, and check the expiry date at the end of every month, as many of these medications expire before you’ve had a chance to use them all!

Some that everyone could do with:

-mild aspirin-free painkiller like paracetamol (aspirin is a blood-thinner and is found in ibuprofen, fyi)

-iron supplements

-st john’s wort (check for incompatibilities with underlying conditions or current medication first)

-anti-fungal gel

5: The comforts.

I don’t like treating a natural state of my body as an illness. But, on the other hand, if you can do little things to care for yourself the rest of the time, why not adapt to whatever state your body is in? Here are some things to make everything a little bit nicer, even if they aren’t 100% essential.

-rash creams to ease any stuffiness-based swelling

-a hot water bottle for aches or just because it’s nice

-a small toy to cuddle if you feel the urge

-a bag of your favourite sweets (keep outside of main bag, but nearby)

How To… freshen up.

So we’ve looked at our handbag contents and the basics we want to have to freshen ourselves up a little. But freshening up properly is also an art. Immaculate makeup makes messy or dirty hair stand out. Or smeared makeup can ruin a look completely. So what shall we keep on us to make sure we’re properly freshened up? And how do we go through the steps?

1: Your kit.

Depending on how long you’re out, you’ll want more or less. You can keep all of these on you at all times, but it isn’t necessary to go beyond the essential. For 0-3h: lips, eyes, comb, baby wipes, hair spray. For 3-7h add: makeup bag, hairbrush, aftershave, deodorant, nail kit, mouthwash. For 7h+ add: razor, tweezers, dry shampoo, baby oil, chewy toothbrush. For busy, sweaty or intense jobs, regardless of hours: lips, eyes, dry shampoo, hairbands, baby wipes, aftershave, deodorant.

2: 0-3h. Polish up.

If you’ve been running around a lot, been working for a few hours or just not quite feeling the love, this is what you’re going to do.

Wipe your armpits, neck and chest.

Touch up your lips, eyeliner and concealer.

Fix your hair.

3: 3-7h. Fixing up.

You’ve been on your feet a lot, maybe spilt coffee on your trousers, had to run from one office to another, had lunch or a snack and had an itch on your face that smeared your makeup a little. This process sounds like a lot, but is very quick and leaves you looking 9am-fresh.

Wipe your face down first, then your armpits, neck, chest and crotch. Then, pat armpits and inner thighs with a baby wipe moistened with aftershave, to kill any bacterial overload.

Make sure your nails are clean and not damaged.

Wash your mouth out.

Reapply your makeup.

Reapply deodorant and fix your hair.

4: 7h+. Sorting out.

So the work day is over or almost over and you haven’t had a chance to fix up, maybe not even to polish up! And to boot, there isn’t much time to tidy up, let alone to have a shower. You want to feel better, look nice for when you’re home or going on a date or meeting some more important clients and you have your freshening kit on the ready.

First of all, start chewing on your chewy toothbrush.

Now wipe down your face, armpits, neck, chest, crotch, hands and feet.

Pat every fold and crevice with an aftershave moistened baby wipe.

Use baby oil on dry feet and hands.

Check and fix up your nails.

Brush your hair and apply dry shampoo.

Reapply your makeup.

Reapply deodorant.

Brush out the dry shampoo.

Spit out the toothbrush and rinse your mouth.

5: Job specific.

If your job is very messy, sweaty or active, then here are some hints to help keep you fresh.

-First of all, if you’re not already doing it: dress for your job. Heavy makeup for a primary school teacher not only looks odd to parents, but will be ruined within hours. Think practical.

-Wipe down sweat every morning, use the aftershave trick and once it’s dry, apply 48h deodorant. This cleans you from night sweat, kills bacteria and locks in future sweat and smell.

-Keep spare hairbands, nail polish and a small sewing kit on hand. If you’re likely to break something once a week, keep spares just in case.

-Keep some good quality, skin-safe fabric cleaner at work. You never know when coffee, permanent marker, ketchup or oil may strike!

And that is how to freshen up.

TTFN and Happy Hunting.

How do you freshen up? What is your job like? Do you have any helpful hints to share, or any tricks you’ve picked up over the years? Would love to hear them!