What’s REALLY In Your Handbag? No Editing Allowed!

I have the same attitude to my handbag as I do to underneath my bed –- if I can’t see it, it’s not there. I’m gross.
Publish date:
September 18, 2012

The contents of a handbag are sacred, and most usually known only to the owner. A pair of dirty knickers rolled up and hidden in the zip compartment, forgotten about (no? only me?); sweet wrappers; secrets. The handbag I’m using at the moment, a green and cream H&M tote, is absolutely massive and can fit oodles of crap in it. For this reason, the bottom is covered in detritus that I simply do not have the mental or physical energy to go through and clean out. Life is too short to worry about having a tidy handbag!

I have the same attitude to my handbag as I do to underneath my bed -– if I can’t see it, it’s not there. I’m gross. Recently I found a piece of pork crackling wrapped in tissue in a zipper compartment that I had "been saving" because I couldn’t finish it with lunch, and had forgotten about. Eugh, I make myself sick.

For this reason, I am exceptionally nosy when it comes to other people’s bags. What are they hiding in there? Are other people super organized? It always astounds me when I see people carrying mini packets of tissues, or other terribly organized stuff like MINI DICTIONARYS (!!) or little lap dogs in tutus. I quite often find myself on the tube opposite someone who will rifle around in their teeny tiny baguette bag and pull out a Kindle and an iPhone and a Mulberry purse and some breath mints and a small house rabbit and a pair of spare flat shoes like some kind of Noughties Mary Poppins. How do they do it?

I absolutely love any kind of website that delves into other people’s lives. I am a one-woman neighborhood watch. I am a voyeur, a peeping tom. For that reason I can often be found on whatsinmyhandbag.com –- a glossy site dedicated to photographing and sharing beauty products that the uber-glam covet and stash in their luxury leather totes. The photos are always very polished, with not a crumpled bus ticket or packet of Camel Lights in sight. WHERE ARE THE TAMPONS? Do glamorous women not menstruate? Come on. With insights such as, "I wore Dior to my prom!" it’s not hard to feel a little shabby in comparison. But let us not forget that it’s NOT REAL.

I thought my bag was due a clear-out, so here it is in all its grubby glory. In solidarity, how about you all empty yours, and let us know what’s inside? What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever found in your bag? My friend’s cousin once found a baby tortoise in hers. True story.


•Bottle of Diet Coke

•Travel umbrella. I live in England. I shall say no more.

Rimmel Scandaleyes mascara

•3 x pens (why do I need three pens?)

•Sample of L’Oreal Youth Code Serum. God knows how long that’s been in there.

•Free sample of Tetley’s tea. I hate tea.

•2 x pantyliners

•Blister pack of Budesonide steroids

•5 x bobby pins. I was surprised that there weren’t actually more. Where do they go? It’s one of life’s big mysteries.

•Chewits wrappers

•Bus ticket (I kept it because there is a McDonalds offer on the back)

•Hawaiian Tropic lip balm. Smells like summer!


Gaviscon Cool. They’re the SHIT.

•Models Own topcoat

•Restaurant loyalty card with one stamp

•Train season ticket in Cath Kidston holder

•VO5 Ultimate Hold Hairspray. I actually thought I’d lost this.

•Receipts from the Post Office for some dresses I sold

•Blister pack of Pentasa (for my Crohn’s)

•Moustache ring –- I took it off when someone in the comments said it was hipster!

•Essie Dive Bar nail polish. LOVE THIS

•½ pack of Dextrose Energy tablets. Why? Am I likely to run a half marathon? No.

•Pack of Bassets Vitality Vitamin tablets

•Hay fever tablets –- again, I thought I’d lost these too.

•Panadol Actifast Paracetamol

•Cath Kidston purse. Probably with no money in it. I daren’t look.

•Stylist magazine

•Guardian Guide magazine from two weeks ago

•Unposted letter I was supposed to post about a month ago

•More paracetamol.

•Paperchase 2012-13 diary. I love the cover!

I’m actually quite surprised that I didn’t find any food in there. There are usually some sweets laying around. Or some pork crackling. So, looking inside my bag, what can I learn? Probably that I’m scared of being in pain (tons of paracetamol/steroids/heartburn remedies) and that I stash freebies even when I hate them (Tetley’s tea) and that I am anticipating having a McChicken Sandwich soon. Oh, and I really should post that letter or bailiffs are going to break down my door soon. Think happy thoughts!

OK, so, over to you! What’s in yours? No editing allowed. I want the raw, gritty truth.

Send me your pics to olivia@xojane.com or tweet them to me! @Natalie_KateM