What’s in my bag today: Black Pierre Balmain

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I always love reading these kinds of posts as I am very much a handbag girl. My handbag is my office, my armour, my pantry, my womb. So it needs to carry everything I need in a day. Here is a list of everything I am carrying with me today.

Bag large black bag by Pierre Balmain from TK Maxx

Umbrella – I am out and about all day so one thing I always carry is an umbrella. I usually carry a Totes Lite Mini umbrella. The one I am using at the moment though is a Mini Fulton. The most important thing for me is weight rather than the strength of the framework. So I get the smallest and lightest I can find. Doesn’t work in gail-force winds but that doesn’t happen often.

Stimorol gum – these I like to chew after meals, to wake me up and freshen my whole head when the day is long and I feel fuzzy

Tissues – my nose runs when it is cold and windy so I always carry tissues with me in a small plastic holder I bought in South Africa. It is about ten years old.

Phone – at the moment an old iPhone 4s (not shown)

Earphones – I use Sennheiser

iPad – I use either a mini for private or a full size one for work. The full size one has a  Logitech keyboard (which means it is more functional for long days with no computer access) – not shown

Snack – usually an energy bar

Glasses – I use varifocals but if I have a lot of translation to do I use reading glasses. I wear Vasuma frames.

Sunglasses – in South Africa year round but in Sweden only in summer. I wear Oakley or Rayban

Pedometer – I usually walk between 15 000 and 25 000 steps a day. I can use this as a clock as well

Torch – for finding things in my bag if it has a black lining

ID card for Parliament

Filofax – this contains my travel card, mirror, pens, and works as my wallet and my planner. This one is a dark blue Cavendish with 30mm rings.

Makeup Bag – I only wear eyeliner, mascara and lipstick so in my makeup bag are wetwipes, aspirin, safety pins, plaster emery board, glasses cleaner, cotton buds and lip balm. I am famous among my students for having everything they need in an emergency. No one every has to leave my classes unless they want to! This small one is from Harrods.

Gloves – in winter. I have very slim hands and I wear my gloves very tight so I can do things on extremely cold days without taking them off.  Usually black leather with fine wool lining. I always buy the same model so that if I lose one I can make another pair from other ones which have lost their mates.

Scarf – year round. I have about 20 pashminas in every colour under the rainbow so I can always co-ordinate

Keys – on Cath Kidston keyring

Midori full size notebook holding all the extra papers I need on a daily basis.

Plastic sleeves with A4 papers for classes (not shown)

Below is a photo that shows other things I sometimes carry with me which I am not carrying today:


  • deoderant
  • business card holder by Ramos as is the pen holder
  • swiss army-type knife for women (contains everything the normal one does plus a perfume bottle, sewing kit, mirror and cuticle remover)
  • travel card
  • energy bar
  • Palm Pilot (shows how old this photo is!)

These two bags are my Mulberry Roxanne and Bayswater, the makeup bag is Mulberry, as is the wallet. The small purple pouch is by Balenciaga. Glasses by Rayban

Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

22 thoughts

  1. Love posts like this too. I tend to carry a lot of things in my bag. Seems like you carry quite a lot too. Doesn’t yours get heavy? It must be a little difficult with all the walking that you need to do. I’m just always trying to lighten the load of my bag.

    1. Yes it does get heavy – and to make it worse, the bags I like are usually made of heavy leather. But I think I am used to it, though it is not good for my back at all.

      1. A friend got me hooked on Kipling bags. They are fab – bright colours, lots of designs, come with a cute monkey, can go in the washing machine and hold as much as a Tardis! I have as many Kipling bags as I have Filofaxes, and tend to rotate them for work and pleasure. They are also very light.

      2. It’s worth having a look on Amazon, as the prices there are usually much cheaper than getting from Kipling themselves (although their service is very efficient).

  2. Interesting to see the contents of your bag! I also love and carry a Fulton Mini Umbrella. They are quite good and take up little space. I don’t carry it if it is very windy – I don’t think it would survive as it does look a bit delicate!

  3. Glad you like eyewear as well! I invest in mine as I believe you wear them every day so you may as well look really hard for something that suits you and is comfortable.

    Why 3s are lovely but very narrow from top to bottom. I have a photograph of myself wearing them which I can add to the post if you like. They are striking but don’t provide much protection from the sun.

    Good question about the torch. I never thought of that! I received that little one as a gift from the crisis preparedness agency and its been in my bag ever since.

    1. I would love to see your Why3s in action! I nearly bought a pair for my prescription specs but got the Rodenstocks instead. As an rx spec the lens coverage wouldn’t be as critical…

      I am definitely a believer in investing in something that really fits and suits you when it comes to glasses. They become part of your personality to some extent, and if you’re wearing them all the time it would be false economy to go cheap. Buy the best – you’re worth it! 🙂

  4. Went to have a look at your eyewear page – glad to see you’re another Oakley fan! I’ve recently bought my 25th pair of Oakleys (collector much?) but haven’t yet acquired a pair of the Why3s… only a matter of time though.

    People who don’t wear glasses sometimes don’t understand why eyewear is so important – it can change your whole style! My favourite pair of specs is an ancient pair of Rodenstock rimless, with a ‘saddle’ bridge – they don’t make any like them now, which is a pity given they’re amazingly comfortable and rapidly approaching worn out. Sadly I can’t wear a lot of modern frames, because my glasses prescription is -5… which means that I can’t have very wide lenses or the edges become insanely thick and heavy. Your Oakley Candidates and Gaskets look really nice, but I wouldn’t be able to get lenses lightweight enough to fit them!

    BTW why do you need a torch? There’s a torch app built into the iPhone!

  5. Love your blog! I tend to carry around very similar stuff as travel a lot so need a portable office too! However whats the name of your swiss type knife for women? I like that it has a sewing and other extras. I use the Swisscard which is almost perfect but always interested in alternatives.

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