Life in the old womb yet

My period arrived this week, 12 weeks after I stopped expressing and 16 months after my last one started. I’ve used tampons since I was a teenager but for some reason I couldn’t bear the thought of inserting one this time.  I didn’t have a vaginal birth, so it was nothing to do with that. Maybe it was about all the poking and prodding I underwent in the four years of trying to get pregnant.

I had a handful of Always towels left over, I think from the start of my pregnancy when I was bleeding a little. Towels have come on since I was a lass but I still didn’t love having a bloody rag between my legs. I bit the bullet (ha) later in the week and bought a pack of tampons as I was passing through Lidl. I can’t say if it was the new type of tampon but it was not the most comfortable experience, a bit chafey to say the least. Whether it’s me or the Lidl tampons (I generally use Lil-Lets and these new ones were a mere 99 cents) I do not know. I’ll reserve judgement until the next time. Perhaps my body has changed.

A quick non-fertility-related word on Lidl and Aldi. Readers in the US mightn’t know how these two German discounters have come to dominate the grocery market here in the last 15 years. I would never have seen this coming, having shopped at these supermarkets as an exchange student in Germany back in 1992-93. Most students frequented Lidl and Aldi in those days, as they were super-cheap and for good reason: they were horrible, fluorescent-lit, Communist-style places with no fridges as I recall (nasty UHT milk, bleurgh) and goods stacked high in drab boxes. They’ve changed a lot since then and now even carry fancy deluxe ranges while still giving the established supermarkets a run for their money with amazing prices, which I think they achieve with scale and also fierce negotiation with suppliers.

Anyway, I imagine I am alone in this, but I often wander around these two shops with a smile on my face because of their own-brand packaging and names. As the Daily Mail outlines here, the packaging often looks very, very similar to that of equivalent big-name brands, so there is clearly some psychological trickery at play. And the product names are excellent and often reminiscent of big brands too.

The other funny thing about Lidl and Aldi (I don’t get out much) is their range of weekly offers. These are launched on a particular day each week and have different themes eg gardening, cycling, music, DIY. It’s not unknown for people to drop into Lidl or Aldi for minced lamb and come out with a set of drums or an electric steamer because they just couldn’t pass up an amazing bargain. When I was pregnant last year, I popped into Lidl for some batteries and left with a Swiss ball for my labour and a manual breast pump. And no batteries.

Anyway, I smirked a bit this week when I noticed the Lidl tampons and sanitary towels are called Siempre, which as you know is the Spanish for Always. (While, confusingly, their own-brand range of nappies, which I am road-testing because my boy is waking up wet at night, is called Toujours, the French for – Always.)

Just found this – very catchy:

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