woman looking shifty holding handbag smuggle evidence


Did You Know Half of us Are Still Doing the Handbag Smuggle?!

Ever done the Handbag Smuggle? It’s a nifty manouevre, but not a very pleasant one. You’re in the toilet and realise there is no bin for your tampon or pad. You don’t want to block your friend’s loo so your only solution is to wrap it up in tissue and sneak it out in your handbag. Research* shows that 52% of women have mastered this manoeuvre, but of course it’s not something you boast about, and that’s the problem.


Of all the taboos being tackled in the 21st century, who’d have thought that the taboo around periods would be so enduring?

Whilst we may bond over period pain and hot water bottles, women don’t discuss sanitary disposal. This silence is covering a great deal of angst as well as causing something of an environmental crisis.

The majority of women flush their tampons, blissfully unaware that they are blocking sewers, causing overflow into rivers, with their tampon washing up on the beach. It’s hard to blame them when discussing disposal remains taboo, and you’d need a magnifying glass to find the instruction on tampon packaging recommending that tampons should be binned.


Women are divided into flushers and binners, and each group is amazed that the other group exists. 

Such is the secrecy around disposal that sisters, besties and flatmates would have no idea what each other do behind the bathroom door. Flushers are horrified to discover they’ve been sending their tampons downstream. Meanwhile binners encounter regular cringe-worthy problems of their own.

women whispering about handbag smuggle


Whilst binners are doing ‘the right thing’, the experience has little else to recommend it. They are wrapping their used tampon in bits of toilet paper and praying for a bin. In homes, bin provision is patchy, and often come without a liner or lid. In public washrooms, the dreaded sanitary bin often looks like a murder scene.


Suddenly, the high incidence of the Handbag Smuggle starts to make sense.

Once you start talking to women about disposal, all the stories of disposal disasters come flooding out, stories to make your hair stand on end!  While we can salute the ingenuity of women caught out in this way and making use of an old receipt or crisp packet, it’s crazy that we’ve put up with it for so long. And as for the nappy sacks sometimes deployed for the purpose, you have to wonder who’s idea it was to make them see-through (a man’s perhaps?)!

These private struggles seem so out of place in our modern world where women operate with confidence in every other sphere. It’s led me to develop a solution which is long overdue: a fit-for-purpose disposal bag. I knew it had to be opaque, sealable and biodegradable. And it had to be easy to open when holding a used tampon in one hand.

Now my FabLittleBags are a reality and allowing women to manage their periods with a bit more dignity. Let’s hope that awkward bathroom manoeuvres and unnecessary taboos can be consigned to period history.

Guest post courtesy of Martha Silcott, inventor of FabLittleBag

FabLittleBag is available from Amazon, Waitrose, Ocado, Whole Food Market and from fablittlebag.com. If you purchase this product via the Amazon link herein, yours truly receives a small commission…not quite enough for a coffee but maybe enough for the chocolate sprinkles ☺️ [Official disclosure below.]

Absolutely Prabulous is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.” 


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  1. Claire - Life, Love and Dirty Dishes
    March 16, 2017 at 9:05 pm (1 year ago)

    I love this. I have a horror story about a public toilet that is just to mortifying to share, but needless to say having one of these would have really helped me out!

    • prabs
      March 16, 2017 at 9:17 pm (1 year ago)

      It really is the least talked about horror isn’t it? Glad you saw the post. Hope you’re a FLB convert.

  2. MMT
    March 16, 2017 at 10:51 pm (1 year ago)

    Why have these bags not been around FOREVER?!

    • prabs
      March 17, 2017 at 12:05 am (1 year ago)

      I know it’s astounding! Thanks for reading!

  3. Sinead (shinnersandthebrood.com)
    March 17, 2017 at 5:24 pm (1 year ago)

    Oh my goodness, this is funny and terrifying all at once. What a nifty little product to keep at hand. How have I not heard of these? Will keep an eye out.

  4. Devon Mama
    March 17, 2017 at 9:24 pm (1 year ago)

    As a ‘flusher’ I had no idea you’re meant to bin them… in which case I completely agree that it’s a rubbish system currently! These little bags are a brilliant idea, especially for work; there’d be nothing worse than trying to smuggle it through the office.

  5. Katy (What Katy Said)
    March 19, 2017 at 10:35 pm (1 year ago)

    I am sure the tampons I used to buy were flushable – you’ve got me wondering now! This is a handy product for sure though as I have definitely been a smuggler of pads!

    • prabs
      March 20, 2017 at 2:38 pm (1 year ago)

      Honestly I’ve been flushing them for years and only found out in a VERY embarrassing way you’re not meant to!!

  6. Becky, Cuddle Fairy
    March 20, 2017 at 10:15 am (1 year ago)

    Oh I had such a laugh about the murder scene bin. Oh it’s not easy being a woman & it’s funny that I’ve never talked about this with friends even though as you say we talk about everything else! The FabLittleBags are a great idea, & I love the colour of them too – stylish & discrete at the same time!


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