So what is in your bag?

I have just been reading the lovely exmoorjane's blog about her handbag - wonderfully revealing about her and leading to a whole series of blogs by all the other people who have opened up their bags too.  I have just  bought a new bag which is quite a rare occurence for me so I might be prepared to share it before it fills with crumbs and old biros.

My new bag is not an expensive one.  I don't think I could bring myself to spend a lot of money on a handbag and I get really uncomfortable when I see some of the heavily quilted and chained designer bags around, clanking with excess.  They just look horrible to me. There are some really beautiful designer bags like those made by Mulberry which I sort of admire from afar.  I do love the way they look but I would never buy one.  There would be a little voice pointing out to me that I could buy a small car for the money, a pretty rubbish car maybe, but still something with four wheels and an engine that could take you places.  I don't know what that says about me - that I could never afford good cars?

So this bag is from Accessorize and it cost about £30.  It is a vibrant dark turquoise with the same colour lining.  It can't be leather for that price can it?  For  years at work I had black leather bags that went with work suits and oozed discreet competence.  The fact that this one is a lovely bright colour just makes  me smile.  It has two pockets on the outside, one zipped and one open.  In the open one is a pair of black knitted gloves.  I might get carried away and buy a pair of burnt orange leather gloves if I can find some that are not too expensive, or I might just not bother.  In the zipped pocket are various business cards that I can't quite bring myself to throw away but never look at.

Inside the bag is a pocket for my mobile phone.  I try to put my phone in this pocket but every now and then I will just chuck it into the depths of the bag and the phone will go to voicemail yet again while I am still searching and scrabbling and totally failing to find it.  There is also a pocket for my keys, oddly, reliably in use.  On the other side is a zipped pocket which holds a lipsyl, a L'Oreal mascara and a Bobby Brown foundation stick.  When I was at work I carried a lipstick too.  I junked that when I left but I can't manage without mascara.  I even took it with me when I walked the Offa's Dyke Path.  You will know that I am on my way out when I stop wearing mascara.

In the body of the bag is my purse, quite accidentally the same colour as the bag at the moment.  I am not naturally inclined to colour co-ordination  The purse is full of cards and credit card slips.  Every now and then I throw all sorts of things away and at the same time I will take all the five pence coins out of the change purse.  My husband accumulates change in little pots around the house.  My contribution is only ever five pence pieces.  They are just too small, too fiddly.  They just get in the way.

There will be a hairbrush knocking around in the bottom of the bag somewhere, the same one as I have had for about ten years.  Every now and then I buy another one thinking I should upgrade but it is never as good as the old faithful so I find myself cleaning it up yet again and reinstating it, feeling faintly embarrassed that it looks a bit shabby but keeping it just the same. 

I had a lovely new camera for Christmas and now that is in my bag too.  On good days I even remember it is there.  It is so little and light I can slip it into my pocket.  That is what works best, when I wander around the garden with my camera in my pocket.  When I am actually out and about with my handbag I am so unused to the idea of having a camera that I do not respond by whipping it out at every opportunity.  I should.  Maybe I should write "camera" on the back of my hand so I don't forget.

There is an aged Ipaq in there too.  It is teetering on the brink of uselessness - quite likely to lose its battery all of a sudden or to refuse to turn the backlight on so that no amount of taking it to the window and peering at it will reveal what I am supposed to be doing on any particular day.  Just as well it is mostly nothing.  Just when I have decided that it is so hopeless that I must take the plunge and buy some sort of replacement (but what kind?  aargh, too much choice, too many opportunities for getting it wrong, why don't I stick with a diary but then I can't synchronise it with my laptop, oh no, hate it, hate it) it starts working again and I forgive it.  Its days are numbered really, but it looks nice.

There is often a book, at the moment "How green are my wellies?" lent to me by younger daughter.  It is by Anna Shepard and is a great, often funny, sometimes serious but never worthy, stylish and very well written book about living with an eye to environmental concerns.  I like it very much.  I used to read novels by the shedload but somehow over the last few years I have gently drifted away from fiction.  When I do read a really good novel again I am transfixed and have to stay up all night to get to the end but I really like something I can pick up and put down and read in snatches while still feeling totally engaged and this book fits the bill all round. 

When there isn't a book there might be my knitting.  I'm not sure how long this new passion for knitting will last when the gardening season really kicks in.  Today when I got back from London there were a couple of hours of almost warmth when I wandered about and cut things back and dug up the hated creeping buttercup and discovered some forgotten bags of leafmould.  I could feel myself vibrating with the urge to sow and plant things but by four o' clock it was cold as cold again.  While there is a need to sit by the fire I suspect I shall still be knitting, and maybe beyond,  and the lovely thing about having my knitting in my bag is that I can knit in carparks, on trains, waiting for people, listening to the radio.  I probably can't knit while driving, sadly.

That's about it.  Oh there are biros.  Just now there are two biros but much the most normal scenario is either none at all and frantic searching and cursing, or ten banging up against each other and none anywhere else in the house.  Sometimes there is a notebook too but my current favourite has handmade paper and is too big for a bag.  Smaller, scruffier ones are better.

Because the bag is new there are no biscuits, no crumbs, no old shopping lists - yet.

I like it.  I like it very much.


  1. Hmm maybe I should do one on my bag, it hasnt moved back from being my travel bag yet, but it will. Mascara, cant use the stuff much as I would like to, being almost blind in one eye means you can do one eye but not the other, and usually put it all over the place!
    Love your blog, keep warm and keep knitting, that is my winter job, we are waiting for it to get cooler so we can garden.

  2. What's in my bag, well since I started blogging I always try to remember my camera. I also carry my purses and a lipsil, but no make up, phone sometimes if not in my pocket.loads of old receipts and a pair of tweezers. I always have at least one pair of pliers,you never know when they might come in handy, I also seem to be carrying around a reel of wire and an archimedean drill which I really should remember to take out. I think it's time for a clear out again!

  3. Thanks for your email, Elizabeth, and the tip about being able to comment if you first go to your blog, then to your latest post. Hope you are able to get that sorted out - what a pain!!

    Any woman who has an Ipaq, camera AND knitting in her bag is an interesting personality, to say the least!! It was fun to read about the inner life of your handbag.

    I'm with you as far as disliking the big, flashy totes that are trendy at the moment, and I'm always looking for bargains on bags. There's something great about finding just the right one - very few other purchases give me the same satisfaction.

  4. I just bought a new bag too - my old bags, once needed to look reasonably smart at work, have been gathering dust, and my current ones fill up too fast as my requirements increase - camera, phone, specs, lists, folding shopper. The new one has no compartments, so everything lies in a muddle at the bottom, but it's roomy enough for a little light shopping, and a pretty dusty pink colour too - definitely not an office handbag!

    But somewhere else (where? which bag?) are my two lipsticks, that I haven't seen for months and am too mean to replace.

  5. I'm impressed that Angela carries a pair of pliers! How practical.

    Mine? notebook, frixion pens (love these), nice red and green leather purse, foundation and lip gloss, both rarely worn, train tickets, tube map and Oyster card, antibacterial handstuff (failed to save me from nasty bug last week, because I caught it from my mother), book, spare tissues, raspberry syrup - oh no, that's Moominmamma...

    Those Accessorize bags are lovely, aren't they? I nearly succumbed recently.

  6. Oooh, how interesting! I do like the idea of your vibrant turquoise bag and thoroughly approve, and love the idea of knitting in it - don't you worry about dislodging stitches whilst rummaging for your keys? I'm sure I would. Fascinating, other people's bags, and always far mor interesting than one's own.

    (I'm sorry, I've been away for far too long - just doing some long overdue catching up. Hope all's well xx)

  7. It was great fun reading about the secret life of your bag Elizabeth - and boy what a bag, I love the sound of turquoise!
    We are kindred spirits in that I never leave the house without full mascara - in fact I wear it in the house too!
    My bag is very minimal these days - just a purse, camera, mobile phone, note pad and pen, sunglasses, mirror and some lippy. No book, I can never read on the hoof. Oh and lots of crumbs probably!

    Jeanne x

  8. You have inspired me. Am creating a "bag post" in my head, and will continue to do so while at work. 8-)

    Thanks for giving us a peek into yours!

    Stop by my blog for a slathering of sunscreen and a margarita.

  9. I enjoyed 'nosing' in your handbag Elizabeth. I have two handbags that I use the most. One tiny leather one when I'm on my own - just specs, mobile, comb, car & house keys, hanky and just enough money. The other I use when we're out shopping and Hubby buys batteries, screws etc and then says, 'Can you just pop these in your bag for me?' and I end up with the kitchen sink.

  10. Can't comment in the way I used to, but I got here using the tip from Deborah! In my bag? Always, always a book in case I get stranded at a bus stop or in a queue. Then the normal stuff. The most unusual thing is probably the mini-sewing kit, which just goes to show how boring the contents of my bag are!

  11. Fun to read about what's in your bag, Elizabeth.

    Now I realize that my bag is definitely vintage, since none of its usual contents require batteries or recharging.

    I am the one that constantly needs some recharging! xo

  12. ummm - well my bag is seasonal - in the summer it had purse, string, secatures, camera, plant labels, sunglasses, bite cream,

    In the winter it has (burrows in bag to look) woolly hat, watch, shopping lists, cheque book, mints and random bits of paper.

    Love those accesorize bags - was tempted last time I went to the shops - but decided I really should make my own new handbag in the winter - well that's nearly over and no sign of new handbag

  13. I think the knitting gets put by for most of us when garden season kicks in Elizabeth and then I look forward to getting back into it in the autumn. Loved the list of things in your bag though crumbs would always feature large in my own! x

  14. Penny - I love the idea of waiting for it to get cooler! seems hard to imagine from here.
    Angela - pliers and wire and a drill are rather cool!
    Deborah - a bargain bag is great isn't it? I bought my mother a beautiful one made by a woman from a nearby village which was just gorgeous. Makes me feel I should get in touch with her again and buy one for me!
    Rachel - I had a lovely one without compartments at all and I could never find anything. I am hoping this one will be the perfect compromise. Too many compartments and I just don't use them!
    Geranium cat - Moominmama! I haven't thought of her for years. Used to be one of my daughter's favourites when she was small and mine too.
    LBD - how great to see you! The knitting is ok as it is a plastic freezer bag to save it getting mixed up with everything else and, so far, the keys are in the key pocket. How long will it last?
    Cottage garden - ah another mascara addict! are you fair like me I wonder?
    Marcheline - looking forward to reading yours. Was a bit horrified by your snow btw!
    Molly - a tiny one sounds wonderful. My sister bought me a tiny one once because she was horrified by the weight I lugged round. It was beautiful but in the end I couldn't cope without my stuff - sad eh?

  15. Well done with the socks! (Last post) and thanks for sharing the interesting contents of the turquoise bag. I guess it would go well with the peacock!

  16. I wish you could have posted a photo of your turquoise bag - I'll be on the hunt now for burnt orange gloves - The Great Dane will never understand 'but you don't have anything that goes with orange - I thought youd didn't like orange'...poor man.

  17. I have carried a rucksack with me wherever I go for about twenty-five years. Every-so-often I've tried to give it up because my shoulders are hunching forward like elderly kindling-gatherers in fairy tales - but it doesn't last. I don't know how people can bear to carry something in their hands all the time, or be lopsided with a shoulder bag or not carry . . . well, lots of things around with them with room to spare for other lots of other things.


  18. So, you must dig that camera out and take a picture of that lovely purse. I L-O-V-E purses so I adore seeing other people's purses ('cause if I love it enough, I may put it on my "find" list).

    I tend to carry smaller bags now-a-days because my should hurts if I take a large purse. So, I just have the essentials in there -- no books or knitting or can of soup.

  19. Fascinating - I'm really enjoying everyone's bags, I forgot about the camera in mine, because I'd taken it out to photograph the bag. Short term memory loss.

    Agree so much about the giving up knitting for gardening. I am getting itchy fingers, waiting to get them into the soil, preferably not claggy and cold soil!

  20. Enjoyed the peek into your bag Elizabeth. Have only ever had one relatively for me expensive bag from Radley. A present from himself it comes out rarely, even though I am most partial to it. After years of lugging gigantic bags around I am now of the minimalist school of bags - big enough for pen, diary, small notebook, money, cheque card, library card, phone, comb and that's your lot. Keys usually fit into a pocket somewhere.


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