Time for a lighter moment. One of my BFFs is a real-life Fairy Godperson, she runs a company called One Stop Organisers, she is formidable (English and French versions) and gorgeous. I would, you would. On her blog she regularly asks dynamic successful women what’s in their handbag, it makes for fascinating reading…
Then bless her, she asked me.
I have quite enjoyed plunging the depths of my handbag with a newly critical eye, a little like a geologist maybe, digging through the various strata, understanding their unique history and positioning, the processes that created and still affect them… but I do not see that this information is befitting of a stylish businesswoman’s blog.
Ah. Handbags I have known and loved.
Whilst I don’t mind being given diamonds, I do believe a handbag is a girl’s best friend. One’s secrets are always safe. A handbag never tells, never turns on you, never teases.
Even when pushed to the brink.
One of my favorite-ever leather handbags paid the ultimate accessory-as-bestie price and took one for the team as my sick bag in the taxi home from a rather excellent debauched night out. I would never puke in a cab, I would never, ever leave a taxi driver with a mess to clean up, disgusting; but sadly I was caught short, so my darling bag got it…
It’s still in my wardrobe, I rarely feel the urge to use it (it has been cleaned but the lining still has a lingering crispy feel to it) but I won’t bin it out of respect for the service it gave.
I appreciate that’s probably too much info but if I wrote about handbags without that confession, I know my Mum would troll me in the comments.
My two current handbag(s), on rotation, are both made by Kipling, I love them but I feel a bit awkward to have progressed to a proper grown-up lady’s brand.
I try to convince myself that my handbag is a typical capacious Mum bag full of layers of crap and essentials; I am very philosophical about it, nothing can be discarded: one moment’s crap is another moment’s essential.
That old IKEA receipt will wipe a nose very effectively when the last tissue has been blown to bits on one of those “Christ on a bike how are you making so much snot so fast?” days, those empty yellow toy containers from inside a Kinder Surprise are perfect for saving a milk tooth that suddenly bloodily pops out in Waitrose, etc, etc…
Nah, it’s not really that noble or romantic. It’s literally a bag of filth. Most Mums would baulk at its unhygienic, unsavory contents.
There’s always an interesting surface detritus hiding everything else. A mixture of tissues, dog poo bags (unused), sweet wrappers, maybe a hair ball, lots of receipts and at least three of those pseudo-condoms that Peperamis wear. Boik.
Under this, the sentimental layer: spare snuggly top, cuddly toy and comforter-type stuff.
Directly beneath, we reach the ‘mineral water table’ of plastic bottles. I habitually buy myself and daughter a new bottle of water whenever we go out. These don’t always get opened, or fully drunk, nor removed from my bag in any timely manner; but again, always useful: half a bottle of water and some hand sanitiser goes a long way to cleansing a dog that has had a filthy roll-about in fox poop…
Near the bottom, it starts to get more interesting. The usual suspects of purse, phone, travelcard, keys, tissues, hairbrush, hand sanitiser, aloe vera gel… then chaos. Actually even I’m shocked. I rarely actually look right down inside my bag. Highlights include:
- various cheap trendy broken accessories, ‘failed’ healing rock/crystal bracelets;
- two pairs of sunglasses: daughter’s and some 3D cinema specs (so useful);
- compulsively collected IKEA pencils and paper tape measures;
- a jumbo pack of plasters that fix anything from knees to kites to headphone cables;
- a tube of Germolene, rarely used. I keep it mostly as an effective way of discerning the severity of an injury: screaming protests of “NOOOO, PUT IT AWAY!! IT STINKS!” = nothing to worry about; meek acceptance that you are about to get Germolened = shit, might need to go to A&E. This is true of both husband and daughter. Personally, I love the smell, I would bathe in it.
- indestructible plastic toys from McDonald’s Happy Meals (top tip: excellent for propping up the offending leg when you get a wobbly table in Costa #FML);
- some mismatched make-up including a glow-in-the-dark nail varnish (?);
- a carrier bag containing a couple of (brand new) books and toys en route to the charity shop, the result of that addled-Mummy-brain thing that happens where you go into a shop to get a present for someone and spy a couple of items that would do for other birthdays coming up in the near future and buy them too, leave them in the bag and put them safely in a cupboard where you just won’t forget about them… then forget about them. Several months later, having attended those other birthdays (with other presents bought nearer the time) you wonder “what’s in that bag?”, open it, and curse that you don’t know ANYONE else of appropriate age or gender;
- some kid’s sock, not my kid, she doesn’t do sock, a stranger’s sock, eeuuwww;
- various fossils wrapped in tissue (or those multi-purpose receipts): banana skin, ham sandwich, satsuma, chicken nugget from McDonald’s Happy Meal;
- a large plastic sandwich bag containing lavender essential oil, a fold-up fan, a chewy stress toy and a handful of bin bag ties. I cannot recall what ambitious adventure they were packed for… yes, even my mind boggles, was I with daughter? Was it some failed attempt at initiating kinky non-parent sex with husband? Fear. Zero recall…
All nestled in the inevitable base layer of bag gravel: tiny stones, seeds and fruit pips, those evil silver balls used to decorate cupcakes that just KILL if you crunch one on a metal filling, a marble or two, Haribo, popcorn, some desiccated peas (hmm, did we have lunch at IKEA?), Legos, and desperate paracetamol and chewing gum pieces that have popped themselves out of their packs trying to escape.
Oooh, and a lottery ticket… oooh. Just popping out. Back soon. X