Welcome to another Wednesday Wondering. A couple of months ago, I attended a one-day workshop at my local theatre, exploring the art of script-writing. When we were exploring our characters, one of the exercises we were asked to complete was entitled ‘What’s in your bag?’ I hadn’t come across this before, but it’s apparently quite a popular one and helps you to get into the character’s head. Are they the sort of person who’d have a small bag with minimal belongings? Do they have loads of sweet wrappers in there? Photos of a baby … but they have no children? A gun? The possibilities are endless.
I certainly wasn’t expecting any confessions of gun-toting Write Romantics, but my question this week was, quite simply: What’s in your bag?
It feels quite fitting that this question has arisen this month. You see, I have a little tradition that each time I change job, I buy a brand new handbag for work. This is never an expensive purchase and usually my bags will be from M&S or Debenhams. They need to be fairly sizeable to fit all the stuff I need for work, and they need to be able to sit comfortably on my shoulder. I found out last week that I’m being made redundant. Hopefully I’ll secure something pretty soon which means that it’s nearly time to buy a new bag. Which is probably a good thing because I don’t like mine. It’s a lovely colour and it’s comfortable but it has this inside lining that everything is meant to go into but it flaps about and I frequently can’t find anything because it’s gone into my bag outside the lining instead. Drives me crazy.
I have the obvious things in my bag: purse (including overspill wallet for store loyalty cards), phone (not in the pic because I used it for taking the photo), house keys, tissues, lipsalve etc. Not really sure why I have two handcreams. Most peculiar. Anyway, I thought I’d pick out the more interesting items. I always have my Kindle on me, just in case I’m waiting for a lift or stuck somewhere and can make good use of the time. I have a parking disk (something that’s common round our local area). I have a spare set of sunglasses as my eyes are extremely light sensitive and I need to wear shades most times I drive, even in the winter. There’s a set of postcards for my debut novel which was launched last week so I have them on me just in case. I’m a Brown Owl and it was a Brownie enrolment last night. I discovered that two of my promise badges were damaged so I’ve got those to return. And, perhaps poignantly, I have some keys, a parking permit, and a compliments slip to secure free parking at a charitable project I managed through work last week … but will be handing these back in soon (and recycling the compliments slip) given the unexpected news from last week.
Over to the other Write Romantics…
I’m not a hoarder of bags as I tend to get rid of one as a new one comes in, but I do have bags in all different sizes. I have really small ones only fit for the shortest trip, or going out at night, which hold no more than a purse, comb and tissue, and large ones to use on a long day out. The trouble with a large bag is that I tend to cram it with more stuff than I need ‘just in case’. I might take spare shoes, should my poor feet protest at the ones I’m wearing, a cardigan or fold-up mac I probably won’t need, and my make-up which I hardly ever bother to re-apply. Consequently I’ll spend the day regretting all this extra stuff as the bag weighs a ton!
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This red bag is somewhere between the two, and it’s my current favourite everyday bag, a bargain from TK Maxx. Although it’s not that big, it holds a surprising amount of stuff. Currently this ‘stuff’ will comprise: Purse, phone, diary (which doubles as a notebook), pen, tissues, medication, a fold-up shopping bag, a neat little pink case which opens out into a mirror and hairbrush, reading glasses, sunglasses (or mini-umbrella, depending) and a few sweets. I can also get my Kindle in if I arrange things properly. I do spend an inordinate amount of time groping around in my bag for things I need when I’m out, so as I go along, things like my glasses tend to end up in my pocket.
I do like bags, and would probably have more if I had room to store them. I mainly buy them in places like TK Maxx or in sales. Ollie and Nic bags are amazing. I’ve had several over the years, and only got rid of them when they fell to bits. We used to have an Ollie and Nic in Brighton but it closed down, which is probably just as well as it saves me from temptation.
Lynne says …
I’m looking in my bag now and wondering how much I should confess!! I use my bag as a place to stash all sorts of treasures. In the words of that old sage William Morris, ‘have nothing in your house that you do not believe to be beautiful, or know to be useful….’ except in my case swap the word house for bag.
As I look now I can see lipgloss – essential, any colour that is fairly natural, hairbrush (goodness knows why – I’m always forgetting to brush my hair), kindle (wonderful, if I need to call the RAC that will keep me busy, pens (fingers crossed they don’t leak). Now we’re getting to the interesting bit… postcards of my first wonderful book cover, I still love it every time I look at it, a handful of change usually for school dinners & general expenses, and then the tasty bit, a packet (or two, or three) of those wonderful parma violet sweets just like I used to get at school. Mmm, they are yummy, but my taste can change to mints or something so you can never be totally sure!!
Helen P says …
What’s in my bag? At the minute not a lot… I cleared out my accumulation of junk just the other day but the bare essentials for me are – my Chanel No 5 because I feel like a grown up when I have a squirt, a Chanel lipstick which has been discontinued so I use it very sparingly and I totally loved that colour as well.
Some glittery nail varnish, you just can’t get enough glitter 😉
My business cards that I never remember to give out. My gorgeous notebook my daughter specially designed and printed for me. Pink pens because why write with black ink when you can have pink. Ibrufen (one of life’s essentials), chewing gum, an emergency chocolate because you just never know and a collection of Costa Coffee napkins, just in case.
Sharon says …
I’m not a big handbag lover. I consider it a necessity, but I don’t go all gooey over them. I wouldn’t spend a lot on one. In fact, I’ve never spent more than twelve pounds on a bag and I really begrudged paying that! I only get a new one when the one I have collapses. I’m currently lugging around a fairly large, black bag from George at Asda, which I’m quite pleased with, as it seems to be pretty sturdy and very roomy. I really could do with a decent, smaller bag for ‘going out’. I’ve never bothered before because I don’t go out much and it never seemed worth it, but I’ve been popping my head round the front door and testing the outside world a little more lately, so an evening bag seems to be next on my to-buy list.
I can never find anything in my bag because it’s full of junk. I’ve taken a photo of the current contents of my bag, which is truthfully what I’m carrying around with me every day. I have, however, removed loose painkillers that were rattling around in the bottom of my bag, a few coins which I didn’t know I had so that was good, a couple of letters and some wage slips that have been there for months, and enough receipts to paper my living room.
So what’s left in there? As you can see from the photo, I’m currently carrying with me my purse, a comb, my keys, a current diary, a 2012 diary (because it’s got Dr Who on the cover and I can’t bear to part with it. Besides, there are some notes in there that I need. Yes, I know I could write them in the new one. Shut up!) A model of the Eleventh Doctor…Look, I don’t know why! I just carry it around with me, all right? When I’m at home he sits on my computer desk. He’s my muse. We all have our quirks! A pack of birthday cards, in case I’ve forgotten anyone’s birthday and turn up for work and everyone else is handing them cards, a notebook, which was a publication day present from lovely Alys West, a pen, a box of paracetamol “because you never know when pain will strike”, a tube of hand cream, my reading glasses, some tissue paper (clean), a couple of till receipts, and a People’s Friend pocket novel (written by Write Romantic Lynne) which I’m reading as and when I get a minute. It’s bookmarked with my invitation to Jessica Redland’s book launch now, though last week it was bookmarked with a bill. When the invitation arrived I thought I’d much rather carry that around with me, and it’s safe between the pages of the book so it’s win, win! There’s also a large bottle of water in there, although I only carry one of those when I’m going to work. What I didn’t photograph was my computer glasses which I also carry around permanently (I have to use them at work) and my mobile phone, because I used it to take the picture. No wonder I can never find my flipping phone when it rings under that lot!
Jackie says …
I usually have a few handbags on the go and at the moment have this rather strange one on the go as it will hold my MacBook when it needs to, but I can fold it over when I don’t need it. I am a bit (a lot!) of a messy handbag person and can never find what I need in the depths – shopping receipts, tissues, bits of scrap paper etc usually clog up the innards of any bag I own. However, this is my essential stuff that is always in any bag I have with me. Was horrified to find I didn’t have a pen in there. Call myself a writer!
Helen R says …
When Jessica asked us to talk about our bags and their contents I must admit I drew in a sharp intake of breath! My bag is full of a lot of stuff I probably don’t need but here’s the list: bottle of water, plasters, purse, phone, keys, tissues, a pencil, old receipts, small umbrella, paracetamol, headphones, handwash, handcream and a couple of hair ties.
When I went to London last year I took a tiny bag and then proceeded to buy quite a few things, books included, and stuff them into the rucksack my husband was carrying. He was so unimpressed that he sent me into one of the tourist shops to buy a bag. I’ve had my ‘medium purple bag’ ever since and I love it. It’s got short handles so doesn’t make my shoulder ache and it fits a lot in too.
I’m a bit of a bag lady I have to admit, and I’ve been meaning to buy another for quite some time. I’m not sure why I love them, but they’re the perfect accessory. I’ve taken a picture of just some of my bags (at the top of this post)… I had a clear out before we moved from Australia but still have a selection 🙂 If I’m going out to dinner or for drinks I take a smaller bag but essentials are phone, purse, keys, handwash and tissues. Sometimes this is a challenge with the smaller varieties!
Rachael says …
What’s in my handbag? Well I’ll let you know some of things which lurk within the depths of my handbag. Obviously there is my purse, a lovely Italian leather purse I bought in Lucca two years ago whilst on a writing holiday with friends. Then there is the usual pack of tissues, hand cream and lip balm. At the moment I’m carrying round a pair of sunglasses, just in case summer decides to grace us with her presence. My phone of course, is a must.
Then there are those important bits, showing as a writer, you are never really off duty. I have my notepad and pen and a copy of my latest Mills and Boon book, just in case I can press it into the hands of an unsuspecting reader.
One thing I hardly ever do is change my handbag. I’m not very good at a bag for every outfit. I do have evening bags and a small bag big enough for my phone and a small purse when travelling, but prefer to leave everything in my everyday bag. At least I can’t forget anything then.
Over to you. What’s in your bag? We’d love to hear from you. There’s an option to comment at the end of the tags below this post. Thank you.