Tuesday 16 September 2008

The Inside Story

The inner recesses of a woman’s handbag are typically a mystery to everyone but herself.

There is an aura of taboo about a closed handbag isn’t there?

I mean a magician doesn’t normally want to explain his tricks and nor does a woman want to divulge too much about the mysterious science of bagology. Particularly to perplexed men who just cannot come to grips with why a handbag would cost as much as a large screen TV let alone what on earth could possibly be important enough to be kept in there.

The whole myth of the superiority of men is built on the sole fact that most men never carry a handbag (although it pleases me no end to see the man bags out and proud now). I am sure the first thing Adam purchased for Eve was a handbag. It was his sweet revenge for the apple. They just do not get that they have many more pockets, much deeper pockets, than we do. And it's not always fun lugging these heavy bags with us everywhere we go.

In the good old times, when the definition of a "lady" covered very definite limitations, it was ladylike to carry as little as possible. In sentimental English novels of the last century, whenever a lady opened her bag it was to give money to the poor. Or to take out a small prayer book, an embroidered handkerchief or a tiny bottle of smelting salts, given it was considered very ladylike to faint once in a while. Today, we ladies have a far more varied program and hence our bags have had to get bigger to accommodate our busy lives.

The contents of my bag may have remained a mystery to you all except the lovely Jade from Mommawannabe tagged me in a meme started by Mimi, from Mimi Writes. Read the rules here if you want to join in yourself because I will not tag anyone for fear I may find out too much information about you....

Okay, here is my bag.

I am more than OK about sharing the contents of this bag because over the last year I have changed my ‘bag lady’ ways.

I was always bad at bags. Totally disorganised, unable to throw anything away and stressed about which bag matched which outfit.

Until I got this bag.

It's an Oroton bag (an Aussie company I love) given to me by my daughter for my last birthday. When I got it I decided to finally get a grip on the whole bag situation. I had tried and failed many times before. I started small. Then I started pledging myself to neatness. Then vowing that This Time It Will Be Different. And it was.

This bag is roomy and it will last forever. It doesn't work for everything, I admit, and on rare occasions, I'm forced to use another bag (one of the many that rarely get used and didn’t get ebayed). I don’t know that it was ever in style therefore I will never know if it goes out of style. I don't really care.

While it is much more orderly than bags of the past, at times it’s still like a lost and found department. I often lose my keys or my phone even though there are particular places in my bag I should put them – but I just throw them in when in a hurry. And every one of us across the world knows about the two-minute drama ever repeated: "Heavens, I must have lost my keys... (or my wallet, my phone, that important bill, etc., etc.)!" This used to annoy my ex so much he gave me a flashlight to carry in my handbag to help me find things except I kept losing that too.

So, here are the contents of my bag revealed in all their glory.

Makeup Bag - the content is included in a previous post
Wallet - that is so full I can hardly close it – with cards of all descriptions and other bits and pieces I just have to have. The wallet would be more interesting and therefore more revealing than the bag content I think.
Diary/journal and pen – I still prefer a paper diary than a PDA. I keep an online diary too.
Passport in pink cover - I always carry this with me
Sunglasses in red case
Pink IPod
Hair brush
Chanel No 5 perfume
Glass cleaning kit in black cover
Car keys
Mobile phone
2 gold bangles and a pair of earrings
$11.95 in change
Parking tickets
Beautiful Mermaid picture by New York artist Nina Kuriloff - check out her blog Nina Kuriloff Fine Art
Packet of erasers and mint wrappers
Business cards – mine and others

Pretty standard really. The things I couldn't live without are my phone, wallet and passport, oh and my sunglasses....then there's also the makeup bag too. The smallest things in my bag are the mints and loose change. The strangest thing is the packet of erasers which have slogans on them saying God loves you, Do it for Jesus etc - it was for my nieces - a joke that would take too long to explain. There is nothing embarrassing or illegal in there at all (how boring am I?).

So anything exciting or unusual in your handbag?

And my male readers (if you make it this far), what is your take on the whole handbag phenomenon – and no, you are safe, I can’t hit you with my bag from here so you can say what you really think! Who knows, maybe you even have your own bag. If so, come clean with the contents....


  1. Chanel #5 is my favourite perfume. :)

    I have/had a huge collection of Italian leather bags... (gave a few brown ones away to a friend recently) but got caught up in collecting LeSportsac bags over the past year.

    I even took a couple on my last Italy trip, and will be taking a couple more on this year's.

    I adore handbags. I just adore them! I collect them like I collect Italian pashminas. And one can NEVER have too many of those!

  2. Oh Dear ~ You're bag reminds me of a film star, who...upon arriving looking gorgeous and immpossibly perfect...then says

    "Sorry Dahlings, I've in a bit of a frightful mess; it's all been such a dreadful rush getting here"

    That is impossibly organized.

    Now onto my pockets:

    My pockets are so full, it looks like I have unknown growths on my thighs and my jacket resembles the shape of a christmas tree. When my fingers grope in the turgid contents of my school-boy (never did grow up) pockets, for my car keys, I am liable to drag out a half-sucked toffee, a forgotten cigarette end, a pile of loose tobacco, a stone from near the Oak, an acorn, a crumpled collection of receipts that I should have filed, but now look like a used tissue, an elastic band, a broken pencil, a clipped-off end of a moble phone charger that I might need someday, more fag-ends,two used sweet-wrappers, a £5 note, £1-74p loose change, more loose tobacco, a used tissue.

    Now that's one pocket done..onto the other 7 :)


    ps You're so camp :)

  3. Nothing exciting in my bag... though I did find a small baggie of carrots, an unfinished snack. I downsized and carry little to nothing with me. As long as I have my phone and cash card, I am good to go!!

  4. Good morning, Lilly,
    I agree with you: the whole handbag thing: a fascinating mystery.
    I love handbags and I change mine often, to go with my current outfit.
    Compared to you, girl, and most of the rest of the women on the planet, I carry very little in my bags, even the over-sized ones.
    Just not into lugging the kitchen sink around, if you know what I mean.
    My young roomie's bag weighs a ton - that would drive me crazy.
    Perhaps, for me, after carrying around so much emotional and physical baggage all these years, I want to travel light, and that includes my handbags.
    Enjoyed your post.
    Curious how you got the display ads on your site: I'm meeting with my web designer today for the first time.
    I want to start displaying ads but have no clue how to start. Also, are they money making for you?
    You can email me if you don't want to respond to all of this on your blog.

  5. It's now 2 hours since I read your post and I've been going through my handbag. I have loads more stuff than you. I found a banana in mine. Past its prime. Drink coasters because you never know when the bar you go to may run out!!! A remote control to what I have no idea unless I was hiding it from my boyfriend. I have loads of bags. Its wrong. So wrong. I need to offload some and be sensible. You are such a girls girl though aren't you. I am thinking Henry needs a man bag. He is an actor, the creative types can get away with it. I have some spare...

  6. Hello, Lilly!

    I cannot send you a pic of the contents of my bag as it may implicate you in a number of plots. Let us, for now, assume that it contains the necessities of American life and no more...

    Oooh. Actually, that sounds like I carry a gun, doesn't it? I do not.

    Nice blog! I've added you to my favorites.


  7. Nothing on this earth would induce me to let anyone see the contents of my bag. Ever. :)

  8. I'm an organizer by nature. Greg was shocked to take a peek into my purse when I asked him to get my wallet out of it a while back. He came back saying, "That's the most organized purse I've ever seen in my life."

    Nothing much in there. I don't like a lot of stuff. Phone, wallet, lipstick, black book (has all phone #'s, addresses for everyone and yes, I know that cell phones are good for this, but if your cell phone gets lost or destroyed or memory gone - there's my emergency book), keys, sunglasses. That's all.

    Now, to a different story ~ following what you wrote, "an aura of taboo about a closed handbag." I completely agree with this. Nobody touches my purse. I don't care what little I have in there, unless given permission - keep your paws off.

    I went to a live performance with my family one time. There was a "clown" who entertained the audience. This clown walked into the audience and played tricks on people. I guess he thought I was a good one to pick on. He pointed to me and raised his arms. He meant for me to do the same. I did, but only a little. He again wanted me to raise my arms but this time, raise them higher. Not thinking, I did so.

    HE GRABBED MY PURSE and took it to another person in the audience. I waited a second, expecting him to bring it back to me. He didn't; I had to retrieve it from the other audience member. Ask me if I was livid! That afternoon I filed a complaint. You just don't mess with a woman's purse.

  9. Hi Lily
    The most unusual thing in my bag would be dental floss, hand sanitizer and a pin for inflating a soccer ball.

  10. I used to have a large handbag but got tired of it because I could not find anything in it. Now the one I have is smaller and I still can not find anything in it. Go figure!

  11. Great post !
    I have nothing that would interest anyone in my handbag -except my toddlers who would fight over the keys and the mobile phone ...the teen would go the money (when there is some LOL)

  12. Great post Lily.
    I love your bag, your daughter did a great job in choosing u a gift- looks very spacious.
    I could see in the contents of your bag that you are very oranized and girl at the same time;)

  13. Ohw and takes for giving the inside scoop!

  14. I like your iPod! My mp3 is pink too! :o)

  15. Thanks everyone for your comments. Seems like us girls are pretty much all the same. We would like to carry less, some of us do and most of us don't. I have to commend Henry (Soul Merlin) for revealing what lies in his pockets. A brave man. Now we know why we have to carry bags, we do not want to ruin our clothes. Anyone who hasnt visited Soul Merlins sites should - most creative blogger I know. We all should be jealous of Leslie because she is off to Italy for the 9th time I think - imagine what kind of bags await her. Unlike Irish Mom and Sarah food doesnt stay stored in my bag because I normally eat it quickly - food isnt one of my 'bag issues'. Sarah I do not know what to say about the remote control though....and Pearl, yes I was wondering for a moment what Americans carry in their handbags that the rest of us don't....the plot thickens..he he. And I think we could all agree with Aleta about our bags being private property - no wonder you were annoyed with the clown - in this day and age its a little scary. I would have hit him with it! A is not going to show anyone the contents of her bag either which makes me just want to know whats in there moreso, he he. Mind of a Mom is equipped for soccer games I think and baby_amore's bag is equipped for twins. Jlo uses her bags for what they were intended - to accessorise with outfits and ncgirl has my disease and cannot find anything in her bag regardless of its size. Ladybanana is soon to reveal all, Tammy and I have matching IPods and dear Jade is totally responsible for encouraging us all to reveal what is in our handbags. Thanks to all for your fantstic comments! Nice to know some things are the same all over the world hey?

  16. I carry a bag with me when I go to meetings these days because there is so much to take. Blokes have an advantage over women we have two arms free usually, uh huh. Women on the other hand have a disability when they are carrying bags. Harder to chase criminals, hug someone, run, and every other thing you may be inclned to do when carrying a heavy bag. I think you just have to get more pokets ladies and forget what it does to the line of your outfit. What's a few bulges here and there? Good post Lilly and I for one know for a fact Adam definitely gave Eve the first handbag and my advice ladies is to NEVER trust a man who buys you a bag as a gift.

  17. It's too scary to go digging in my handbag, but I can assure you that I can never find anything in there. I would love to carry a little clutch, but that would never work. After all, where on earth would my hubby put all his crap when we go some place. "Here, honey. Could you put this in your purse?"

    Great post! I loves it :)

  18. @ Stefan - interesting advice. Nah, I can't do pockets either - they wouldn't be big enough and then I would forget which pocket I had put what in.

    @ Troublex2 - oh yes, that is a good point. Did you read that Stefan??? Men ask women to carry their stuff in our bags. It's kind of cheating I think! I think I would feel a bit exposed somehow just carrying a small clutch now - just wouldn't feel right after lugging a handbag around all of these years.

  19. Hi Lily,
    I love big bags and I wouldn't mind investing on a quality bag even if it's a bit pricey.I'm not much into signature bags though, they're way out of my budget but if it were, why not? a little luxury wouldn't hurt...

    i started up a new blog and you're one of the reasons why=)

  20. Rachel - I think you can get great bags which are not so expensive. I just like good ones because I like to use the same one most of the time and like a classic look that will last me for a long time. I am too old for fads! I am intrigued about your new site and will come and take a look!!

  21. I too prefer a paper diary to a PDA.

    But I'm wondering about the $11.95 in change...what's up with that?

  22. In other words - I find that I throw my change in the bottom of my handbag instead of putting it in my wallet. We have $2 and $1 coins here so it shouldnt be too hard nut it is. My bag gets heavy and I then know its time to take the change out. Thanks for dropping by - love your blog!

  23. Dear Lilly ~ Would you tell Sarah that I AM a 'man-bag'


    ps flattery will get you Everywhere

  24. He He - Henry you are not a man bag and do not need one either!!! Would you trust the word of a girl who carries a remote control in her handbag and then doesn't have a clue whats it's for or where she got it?? Have a great weekend!
    And you are the most creative blogger I know!

  25. I actually had my Mom get me a smaller bag for my birthday with a long strap so that I could just wear it around my neck and not have to fuss with the "over the shoulder" issue. I leave it on while I do my shopping. Makes life so much easier for me.

    My contents are about the same though. Mobile, wallet, a few pictures, checkbook, perfume, pen, keys, eyeliner, lipstick, mascara, change, tissue and when needed, some unmentionables…

    It has however made me get rid of receipts and bits that I don’t need. I can tell my kids are older because the contents have gotten less with their ages. No more band-aids,brushes,or things that they gave me to keep. Like rocks or rubber bands or things they found...

    I do have to admit that I’m addicted though. Not only to bags, but to jackets and shoes as well!

  26. I wonder: am I the only handbag-less female in the universe?! OTOH, am not entirely bag-less -- i.e., take a briefcase to work and often go out with a backpack when at leisure... ;b

  27. @ Christi - by the way I love your new photo. I agree not having anyting over your shoulder and being able to have your two arms free makes it a whole lot easier and way safer too. Oh you are a girl after my own heart, bags, jackets and shoes.

    @ ytsl - no I think a briefcase is a bag too - although I have been known to carry a briefcase and a bag. Backpacks are bags as well and are probably easier to carry in some ways. I think Leslie said that she carries them around too now. No, I dont think you are alone on this. You are probably one of the sensible ones!

  28. @ Christi - by the way I love your new photo. I agree not having anyting over your shoulder and being able to have your two arms free makes it a whole lot easier and way safer too. Oh you are a girl after my own heart, bags, jackets and shoes.

    @ ytsl - no I think a briefcase is a bag too - although I have been known to carry a briefcase and a bag. Backpacks are bags as well and are probably easier to carry in some ways. I think Leslie said that she carries them around too now. No, I dont think you are alone on this. You are probably one of the sensible ones!

  29. Hello--I've made my way here via Barbara Blundell's blog. Love this post! Since moving to the London area from Texas (where everything is big), I've managed to pare down to the absolute bare essentials in my bag. This is mainly because whatever I carry into the city with me, I have to haul around with me ALL DAY! That being said, for sightseeing, I'm down to a digital SLR and a very small purse containing my Oyster card, my debit card, some cash (not much), a small map, my cell phone, and my keys. If I'm going to shop, I'll bring all of the above and an empty backpack.


  30. Just a plane ride away - wow, you have had a big move. It is hard when you are travelling or having to do lots of walking to have too much in your bag. Also I so remember catching the tube as well and having to run to make it on time. Thanks for your comment and thanks for dropping by my blog. I will come and visit you too.


Thanks for your comments.