Your Hospital Bag Essentials

A girls' guide to what to pack for your surgery, by Lucy Nifontova.

It’s the night before your surgery and you’re wondering what you should pack in your hospital bag. We have compiled a wish list of our ’Post Surgery Must-Haves’ based on our many years of inpatient experience.

Dry Shampoo

It’s time to reach to the back of the bathroom cupboard for the Batiste – you’re not going to be using the Kérastase for some time as your dressings and wound will need to stay dry. There is nothing like dirty hair to make you feel even more horrendous after a few days in hospital. Shop here and save yourself the indignity of greasy locks. From £1.47.


Sun deprivation quickly leads to vampire skin and those stockings (DVT ones, sorry, not the sexy kind) sap the moisture out of even the silkiest of pins. Hydrating your skin is a must. I believe in the power of Jergen’s Ultra Healing Extra Dry Skin. Shop here from £8.99.


The meds will make your mouth drier than the Sahara and you’ll be grateful for your Polos to freshen your breath when those unexpected visitors burst through the door. From your local newsagent, 60p.

Silk Pyjamas , Kimono and Slippers...

You’ll be sick of the ghastly hospital gown in no time. I find silk pyjamas make duvet days glamorous and have solved so many of life’s problems. My faves are Olivia von

Halle’s ‘Coco’ PJs inspired by Ms Chanel herself… Pricey? Yes. But you’ll feel fabulous and they’re sexy enough to make your consultant blush. Shop here from £390.

You might also want to pack a dressing gown to hide aforementioned hospital gown with the gaping back on your corridor wanders (unless you’re an exhibitionist at heart). We like this satin robe from Debenhams for £25 here.

Slippers are another essential. One of the best presents I’ve ever received was Ugg’s bizarrely-christened ‘Scuffette 2’ (shop here, from £80). Your feet will be walking on a never-ending sheepskin rug.

Scents, scents, scents...

There is little worse than the smell of a hospital (yes, even the swankiest ones are afflicted). Sadly, scented candles are forbidden, so you will need to invest in a delicious room spray. Treat yourself and your visitors to Diptyque’s 34 Boulevard St Germain here, from £46. It’s a delight to the snout and by day three you’ll realise it’s been worth every pound you spent, trust me.

On the subject of fabulous smells, pack a calming aromatherapy oil to dab on your temples, wrists or on a handkerchief. It’s oh-so-soothing and a little luxurious. My favourite is the Aromatherapy Associates Revive Oil which is heaven in a bottle. Shop here, from £18.

Cashmere bed socks

These must be mentioned shortly after the DVT socks. I’m sorry to inform you that the hospital hosiery is unavoidable (truly, I’ve tried every trick in the book to dodge these monstrosities), but cover them up with cashmere-y goodness and fool your brain into forgetting the polyester sausage casings. Also, unless you’re ninety, this is the only excuse you will have to wear bed socks, so relish it. I love Marks and Spencer’s Pure Cashmere socks. Shop here from £30.

Ear Plugs

You will get no peace. The constantly beeping machines, the hustle and bustle, the gossip drifting into your room from the nurses’ station at 4am. Your earplugs will give you respite. Shop here from £5.73.


There will be more flashing lights in your room than on an American juggernaut. You will forget what night time looks like. You will be craving a blackout so much, you may even find yourself wishing that you were living during the Blitz. These eyemasks from Charlotte and Co are beautiful and come in a wide range of colours. Shop here from £15.

Cotton Underwear

I’ve sneaked Agent Provocateur’s finest lace onto the operating table (I believe that dignity must be maintained at all times, even on your way down to theatre), but just in case your surgery prep team is hawk-eyed (likely), pack some cotton knickers. They will keep the nurses happy and you may be able to dodge the theatre-standard disposable undies. Even the most tyrannical of Matrons should find little wrong with Marks and Spencer’s staple knickers. Shop here from £5 for 4.

A pre-loaded iPad

An iPad loaded with all of Netflix’s mindless, vacuous TV shows. You might THINK that hospital will be a great time for watching the entire oeuvre of the Cohen brothers or for reading the complete works of William Shakespeare, but if your fentanyl is doing its job, you will have the attention span of a laboratory hamster.

Don’t bother downloading anything which requires more than two minutes of concentration. And DO download. London’s poshest hospitals may cost more per night than Claridge’s, but the internet is as speedy as a tranquilised snail. iPad, from £339, shop here and Netflix membership here from £5.99.


Stash up on Bolly here from £39.99. For legal reasons, I will say that this is to entertain your visitors. Enough said.

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