Flo’s At Home!

Do you remember when you were a pre-teen and waiting for your very first period? I do and I distinctly remember being on the school bus with my friend Carla Wright who had very cheerfully started hers and was lording it over the rest of us mere ‘children’ who were still to be deigned with a visit from ‘Flo’!

Little did I know back then that the actual monthly call was NOT one I would relish for long. I so wanted to be grown up enough to have them but years later take great pains every month dealing with the spots (I’m 35 for crying out loud) that come before it, the pain and bloating during it (I SERIOUSLY gain 5 whole pounds every time), and then… would you believe it… even more spots that come afterwards! I swear I get one week of the month with clear skin and THAT’S the week I feel bloated and fat! So not fair and so the fault of my female hormones! Oh how I relish being pregnant with luscious long locks, clear skin and a non bloated (albeit baby containing) tummy!

When I finally DID start my periods, about the time my boobs came in at a rate of knots making me one rather popular young lady, I was rather pleased with myself. What wasn’t there to be happy with? I was young, a size 6 and I had ‘become a woman’! I wafted about for a day or so relishing my momentous moment and enjoying the attention it brought from my Mum and then! My Grandparents came over for a visit!

I’d managed to mark the occasion doing nothing more than jotting down all the details in my diary (which is TOO funny in general when read back now) alongside how much I fancied James Harrowvan and by telling a select group of my close personal friends… My Mum, on the other hand, clearly had other ideas about how ‘public’ the news needed to be. We’d made it through the whole visit without a word and in my naive teenage state I’d decided my Mother knew well that this was NOT news to bring up over the Grandparental dining table.

Oh how wrong I was! I swear if blogging had been a thing back then she’d have been on it like a car bonnet and the news would have reached far and wide. As it stood the only people she had to tell were my Grandparents! They’d got in the car, my Grandma and Grandpa. IN the blooming car and were on their way out the drive when my Mum came running from the house, arms flailing and shouting at the top of her voice like she’d forgotten to tell them we’d won the flaming lottery… ‘STOOOOOOOOP!’ They wound their windows down. ‘I forgot to tell you THE news!… RUTH STARTED HER PERIODS THIS WEEK’!

I put that last bit in capitals because she SHOUTED IT! Down the drive way, across the road and into the abyss of the estate we lived on (she still lives there now and I’m certain they ALL remember that day)! It was my most embarrassing moment to that date… Mind you, at that point in time I hadn’t snogged David Maguire (yuck, David Maguire? What WAS I thinking?) and had it revealed in assembly to all and sundry by his mates. Yes, I certainly had more embarrassing things to happen to me when I was school age!

And that was the beginning of the rest of my life as a woman. Spotty, hormonal, moody and bloated with an embarrassing Mum and my ENTIRE family being involved… Men just don’t know the flipping half of it do they?!

I don’t remember my Mum telling me about periods, I just remember ‘knowing’ about them. Somewhere along the line. Probably in between Miss Day at school with her out of date 60’s Vidal Sassoon haircut giving us an embarrassed box of thick sanitary towels and conversations with my pals, I had grasped what was about to happen to me and my body and I thought I knew it all! I knew nothing!

Miss Day’s free school sanitary towels were, for want of a better word, crap! And tampons were clearly the way forward! Lots of my friends refused to use them but I could never understand why? You can do everything and aside from the spots and bloating, forget you’re on the blob altogether! Carla Berry, UK Communications Manager for Tampax believes periods no longer have a right to interrupt your life, and it leads into how girls now are much more confident when it comes to talking about periods! She says: “At Tampax we are committed to empowering girls to seize every moment of every day with nothing holding them back and believe that while periods have the right to exist, they should not interfere in our lives. Our research shows that while girls may still be confused about their inner curves, there is a real movement away from girls feeling embarrassed and awkward around what used to be perceived as an embarrassing topic.  Instead, empowered by digital platforms, girls are increasingly challenging these taboos and reclaiming “awkward” topics of conversation by re-categorising them as everyday norms. As the leaders in feminine care, we have over 70 years of expertise and innovation which we have applied to help create a wealth of information which educates and supports both parents and teenage girls during this important time.”


As the Mother of a girl I have a great responsibility to her to make sure she is informed about her own body and prepared for what’s about to happen to it. I think she will learn bit by bit and has already some knowledge because she was at home when I gave birth to Jimmy in the living room. Alongside my cousin Helen, who was looking after her while I pushed her brother into the world, she stepped over my placenta to see him just a few minutes after he was born! She knew then that with a baby comes blood and a few months later while she was talking to me as I had a bath she looked into the water and saw some blood. ‘Are you having another baby she asked?’

It was time to have our first conversations about periods! I reassured her that I wasn’t hurt or having another baby and told her that every month a grown up girl makes an egg and every month her body asks her if she wants a baby. If she says yes then a baby grows from the egg and if she says no then the egg comes out of her with a bit of blood. This was when she was only two and a half and as time has gone on with more questions asked, I have elaborated. Most recently we’ve moved on to answering questions about EXACTLY how babies get in a Mummy’s tummy! I’ve found myself talking about ‘special hugs’ from Daddies who have seeds for the eggs and all sorts…

I now feel for my poor Mum back on that day when I asked her what a certain name for a certain act of love was… She did well and answered very honestly… I shall try and remember that for when the tables are turned!

Anyway, whatever happens Florence and I will be able to discuss these sort of things and I’ll do my very best not to embarrass her too much by broadcasting any of her news!

I wonder if she may think it’s funny that we nearly called her Pearl but decided against it when the Tampax Pearl’s came onto the market because the name was just everywhere? In the end we called her Florence of course and I know people use the term ‘Flo’s at home’ or ‘Flo’s come to visit’ to describe their period but for me Flo coming meant no periods for 9 months which was brilliant… Unfortunately we can’t be pregnant all the time so I’m back to using my trusty tampax and will be preparing for the ever more questions that will come my way from my growing girl.


The questions now are very easy to answer but when she’s a teenager I’m sure I will need more advice. Tampax have developed a great PDF for knowing how to answer those ‘period’ questions here and as a Mum, they’ve got it all covered here! (Click on the links to learn more!)

These days Tampax Tampons (which would always be my brand of choice) are so much easier to use than they were even 20 years ago when I was a novice newbie. The ‘Compak’ range might be a little more pricey but they’re SO worth it! And guess what, they even make ‘Compak Pearl’ now which expand width-wise to eliminate the gaps that can cause leaks, meaning women no longer need to feel held back from making the most of every moment.  The smooth applicator is built for comfortable insertion and the small size and four new stylish wrapper designs with Quiet & Discreet technology means that they fit discreetly into the palm of your hand.  New Tampax Compak Pearl is available at all major retailers RRP £1.99.


So… Whatever your ‘first period’ story, whether it’s as embarrassing as mine or not or whether you want your little girl to have a smooth journey into womanhood or want to make as much of a spectacle of her as my Mum clearly took delight in, Tampax information needs to be imparted and as girls, we don’t have much choice over that!

For additional information on Tampax, please visit www.tampax.co/uk or www.Facebook.com/tampaxUK.

In association with Tampax.



One thought on “Flo’s At Home!

  1. Another of those cruel tricks of nature, how much we look forward to one of the must irritating things of our life starting!! I too believe in telling Tilly as much of the truth as I believe is age appropriate about these matters as soon as she asks.
    I just started using Tampax again because my period arrived quite typically on holiday and I can’t remember why I stopped – they are just so much more discreet and effective. I am really sold on the Compak Pearl branding too and think Tampax have done a brilliant job of removing the Taboo surrounding them!

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