The No.1 Handbag Essential

This year, there is one small item that I have started bringing with me everywhere I go, and that now I can’t live without. In fact, it has made such a difference to my life that I have a set for every handbag that I own, so that I never get caught out. Listen, a girl needs a selection. And the best part? They only cost me €1.

What are these magical life essentials, snuggled so cosily into my bag? Are you ready for what may well be the most pathetic thing you have heard this year?


That’s right. And I’m talking here about the tiny foam variety that you wear when you and your mother go on holiday together and have to share a room. Not cool, high tech, noise cancelling gismos that can simultaneously send your emails and turn the lights in your house on and off from miles away. Plain, boring, cheap little earplugs. And I love them.

Now, you may be asking yourself why a wildly attractive, fabulous, incredibly young (ahem, 33), and above all modest woman like me would be so enthralled by a pair of grubby ole earplugs?

Being an only child, I have always loved a bit of my own company. I am utterly content to catch a film, go for breakfast, or have a coffee by myself. I’ll bring a book or a notepad, I’m not a psychopath, and actually I feel like I have a lot of my best creative ideas when I’m sitting at a little table in the sun, watching the world go by, and nibbling a croissant. And so there is nothing more likely to put me in a sour mood as I sit scribbling away, than the sound of the chairs next to me loudly scrape back, bags clanging against the metal of the table, and the hooting of sociable young people beginning to honk jovially in my ear. Disaster. Instantly, out fly my ideas, my pen hovering irritably above the page. I slide my eyes bitterly in their direction, but they are too busy being cheerful and normal to notice. But, oh yes! My eyes begin to widen and my snarl to unfurl, as I remember that inside my bag I have my trusty pair of earplugs! In they go, and gently the hooting and the clanging fades away, leaving nothing but a soothing background hum.

Call me mad if you wish, and certainly I do look like I’m leaning on the mad side with my earplugs in, but they have made such a difference. As someone who is self-employed, it’s important to get out of the house and stomp around in the fresh air, and to work at somewhere other than my desk from time to time. Until the great ear revelation, if a noisy group plopped down beside me in a cafe, it often meant that I just couldn’t concentrate on what I was working on, and so I’d have to sadly trudge home, dejected.

So if you too are an insatiable reader, writer, or alone time enthusiast, think about getting yourself a pair. I found these deliciously sweet earplugs which only cost €1.73 and come with their own case. You can thank me later.