What’s in my bag?

I’ve never done a “What’s in my bag?” post before, but I always enjoy having a nose at other people’s, or at the photo pool on Flickr. Yesterday, I posted a photo of The Great Biannual Bag Transfer on Twitter: I tend to carry a lot of stuff with me, and changing the contents of my handbag from a summer one to a winter one is often a bit of an undertaking. Mobeena asked for a list of all the stationery goodies in the picture, but it wasn’t easy to fit into 140 characters; additionally, I suspect there are a few other curious types out there who’d like to see what I’m carrying (and to understand why my bag is so heavy!). You can click the photo to embiggen.

What's in my bag? Lots, that's what. That’s a heck of a lot of pens, I think you’ll agree! I do use them all, I promise. So, here goes…

  1. The (outgoing) summer bag: this is a custom Maya from Timbuk2. I’m not quite sure where I first encountered Timbuk2 bags: they’re made in the USA, and aren’t readily available in the UK. They are well worth tracking down, though: they’re practical, customizable and virtually bomb-proof. The floral print is discontinued now, but they always have a range of lovely designs to mix with the plain fabrics. You can’t see it in this picture, but it has a purple lining with white polka-dots: this makes me very happy.
  2. The (incoming) winter bag: custom Eula, also from Timbuk2. Sadly, this one doesn’t have the polka-dot lining. It does, however, have a waterproof purple one, which makes it much more winter-ready.
  3. Welsh vocabulary and grammar booklets in a nifty little holder: I’m trying to learn, and you never know when you might have some time.
  4. Pens, pencils etc: the first set. From left to right, these are: Parker Urban ballpoint, J Herbin cartridge rollerball with Diamine Teal ink, Pilot Coleto (these are customisable and pretty fabulous), Zebra mechanical pencil, Uni Jetstream ballpoint, Mediadevil stylus, Paperchase mechanical pencil. These normally live in a pocket of the bag, ready to be grabbed for quick scribbles.
  5. Laurige pencil case, usually containing the second group of pens (see 8). It’s small but it holds quite a lot.
  6. Travel pass holders, one containing train tickets, and one holding my Oyster card (hey, I might go to London!) and Iff card, which is a sort of Cardiff version of the Oyster card, except that it only works on buses. The one on the left has a short story by Jeanette Winterson printed on it, and the one on the right is from a science fiction exhibition at the British Library a few years ago.
  7. Car keys and house keys. The latter have a Lego Darth Vader as a keyfob: Eoin approves.
  8. Pens! More pens! From left to right, they are: Platinum Plaisir (Medium, Diamine Teal), Pilot MR (Medium, Herbin Poussière de Lune), Kaweco Sport (1.5mm stub, Diamine Ancient Copper), Kaweco Skyline Sport (Broad, Herbin Lie de Thé), OHTO Tasche (Medium, Diamine Emerald), Jinhao X750 in gold and black (Medium, Diamine Monaco Red), Jinhao X750 in silver metal (Medium, Diamine Royal Blue), Jinhao 159 (Medium, Herbin Terre de Feu), Parker Urban (Medium, Quink black).
  9. L’Occitane Rose Quatre Reines hand cream.
  10. Miniature bottle of hand sanitizer, because children.
  11. Extremely compact Esprit umbrella, which my mum gave me when I was being too scatty to carry my own.
  12. Handkerchief, the cotton kind: I go through far too many tissues, and this is an attempt to be a little more green. It’s being weighted down by the dog end of a packet of chewing gum.
  13. Lavender Balm from Rose and Co Apothecary, who have the best shop *ever* in Haworth, just opposite the Brontë Parsonage museum.
  14. “Raydori” Traveller’s Notebook: this is a version of the Midori Traveler’s Notebook made by the very talented Ray Blake. It has my name stamped on the front, and a plethora of lovely stuff inside, including a diary and an in-depth DIYFish planner for the month. Tucked into the pen loops are another Coleto (containing different inks from the first, and another mechanical pencil) and a Uni-ball Needlepoint rollerball.
  15. Wallet: this a super-fancy DKNY one from Brown Thomas in Dublin, which my sister-in-law gave me for Christmas a few years ago. I think she knew that, without her, I’d pretty much be using an old envelope as a wallet, because I’m scruffy (witness the fact that there are six times as many pens in this bag as there are items of makeup). Thank you, Mairead: it’s holding up very well!
  16. Bag of needments: a handy little pouch in a tape-measure-print fabric, containing such useful items as paracetamol tablets, plasters, and, appropriately enough, an actual tape measure. It was a present from Polly, who is excellent at spotting things like this.
  17. iPhone 5C, which is not always upside down… It’s in an Otterbox Commuter case, because, again, children.
  18. Concealer. Nothing fancy: I think it might be Rimmel. I’m really not very good at makeup.
  19. Swiss army knife: this is the Climber model, picked largely because a girl should never be without scissors and a corkscrew.
  20. Onya folding shopping bag: I’m so used to the charge for plastic bags in Wales that it feels really odd over the border in England, as people seem to thrust bags on you at every opportunity.
  21. Folding hairbrush. I’m not that much of a scruff…

I hope this has been interesting: I’m off to start the jigsaw-like process of trying to get all the things to fit back in my handbag…

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7 thoughts on “What’s in my bag?

  1. >jigsaw-like process
    you did jigsaws weird. unless you mean “use a band saw to off the bits that don’t fit. i’d have said tetris-like process 😀

  2. COME TO LONDON

    Also, you have excellent hand cream taste. I’m currently on a Lavande kick but I love virtually all their scents, and the nice thick handcreams are so good at keeping winter hands nice and non-cracked and dry.

  3. I have to confess myself both impressed and baffled by your bag. I guess everybody’s bag is mystifying to other people, but really… so many questions.
    1. What is this “winter bag” and “summer bag” business? I move things from bag to bag for many reasons, but seasons? Never even occurred to me. (I get the Timbuktu choice, though, was ogling their website with intent for a while.)
    2. All the pens. Sooo many pens. I get that you love stationery (and really, who doesn’t) but why do they ALL live in your handbag? (I realise you probably even more than this elsewhere, but omg. ALL THE PENS.) What possible need could you have for such a selection while on the road? Do you not worry about losing your best pens? I don’t dare carry good pens around with me…
    3. You claim to be bad at make-up, yet you carry concealer and a hairbrush. Do you ever actually use them, while not at home? I am curious. I try to keep lipgloss in my bags but never ever actually remember to apply it after leaving home. Concealer is a thing that happens to other people. Ditto hairbrushes. (But I subscribe to the principle that curly hair should never ever be brushed except with fingers. Even still. I don’t think I ever fingercomb my hair outside the house either.)
    4. L’Occitane hand cream, eh? Taking notes. I love the Liz Earle cream (rich, not greasy, sinks in without trace – basically perfect, just like their face cream, except it smells a bit too lavender-y) but it comes in a huge pump. Could use a handbag cream. No, what am I saying, I’ll never use it, except in the unlikely event I get a job again. Then I might.

    • I guess other people’s bags really are a mystery! (1) really comes down to the waterproof liner: I like the Eula very much, but I love the Maya. I was worried about contents soakage, though: it has happened before, and woe was the result. (2) Because you never know when you’ll need a different colour! Seriously, I’m working on rationalising the pen situation, but for the moment this is all I have managed to cut it down to. In fairness, most of them are really quite cheap, especially the Platinum and the Jinhaos (3) The concealer is for emergencies, but the hairbrush does get used a lot. My hair’s wavy rather tgan properly curly, and the boys bird’s-nest it a lot! (4) YES! It is wonderful, and Samantha agrees, as you see. She is hardly ever wrong.

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