Saturday, June 28, 2008

Weekend Wind-down - Handbags

This weekend we have our Natasha talking about one of her little weaknesses .....

Hands up who loves a good handbag???

Okay, we'd better pause here and get our terminology straight. A 'purse', to me, is the thing you directly put your money into. A 'wallet' is something carried by a man. I'll stick with that because I have deadline brain.

But, don't you just loooove them? Handbags and shoes. Well, truthfully any great fashion accessory which doesn't necessitate me eating lettuce and two small carrots gets my vote.

I like to think my obsession has come from having spent so many years being pregnant. My shoe size and ability to carry a bag being the constants in my life. Even so, whilst thinning out my wardrobe this week, I was a little staggered by the rainbow of bags I own. What's more you can pretty much chart the course of my life when you look at them.

Obviously there are some ongoing preferences. I'm a city girl so there's none of those open 'reach in and grab' bags in my collection. Even though I no longer battle my way around London on the tube I still opt for a secure fastening.

That aside there are the 'a handbag to match every outfit' years, the long strap years (so chosen so I could oh-so-attractively wear it across my body whilst juggling a double buggy, assorted toddlers and a nappy bag), the 'big' bag years (where I carried a collection of pencils and drawing paper in case of offspring boredom and assorted used sweetie wrappers) and now I appear to have entered the era of the really-too-expensive handbag.

And that got me thinking ...

Your handbag says a lot about you, doesn't it? Why you've chosen what you've chosen. How you look after it. (I've got a friend who vacuums out the inside of hers, wraps the buckles in tissue and stores them in pillowcases!! That's going to have to go in a book some day.) What you put in it.

A quick peek in mine and you'll have a very clear idea of the woman I am. What my heroine keeps in hers is very indicative of the woman she is too!!

So, for the record ...... in mine I have:

A purse. It's black leather. Shiny because I've owned it for so many years despite the fact it's a stupid design. You unzip it and coins always fall out because the inner bit doesn't come up high enough. It's annoyed me since the day I bought it.

I have visa slips. Always. Sadly I am a 'stuffer'. I like to think that's because I don't like to hold anyone up in the queue behind me.

A sanitary towel - because I like to be prepared.

A notebook - for those moments of brilliant inspiration. Mine is gorgeous. It has a pocket at the back where I 'stuff' work receipts in a vague attempt at organisation.

A pen.

A spare pen.

A few business cards.

A metal tape measure - because I have an auction habit and you always need to know if something will fit.

And, in the bag currently by my side and for a reason which entirely escapes me, I have my eye prescription.

No make-up (because I can't be bothered). No comb (ditto). No tissues (because I give them to my daughter). No mobile phone (because I hate them. When I'm out I'm out and I don't want to be got).

Look into my daughter's bag and you find - a purse, a book in case she's bored, a small hairbrush, make-up bag, tissues (she has hayfever), a sanitary towel (she's my daughter, after all), a pink phone and her address book.

My late mother, in addition to the more usual things, always used to carry 'after-bite', baby wipes (which always came in useful when happening upon unsavory toilet facilities), nail scissors, peppermints and her glasses.

So, what about you???? Is your handbag a window to your soul? What's the oddest thing hiding in the depths of your bag and what secret does that reveal about you?

Much love

Natasha's latest Harlequin Romance Wanted: White Wedding is on the shelves in Australia now. It's available in the UK here. And in NA here!

Romantic Times Magazine says: 'Natasha Oakley's Wanted: White Wedding (4.5) has its share of deeply touching moments, but what makes it stand out are the humor and the wonderful characters.'

You can find out more about it on her website and you can hear her moan about her sheikhs and other assorted disasters by visiting her blog.

Her contribution to the Niroli series, 'The Tycoon's Princess Bride', is available here and won the Romantic Times Magazine Best Presents of 2007 and is nominated for a RITA®.

'Crowned: An Ordinary Girl' has finalled in the National Readers' Choice Awards.


  1. Considering every time I see you, you start having lustful glances at my handbag... *g* I'm a Radley girl through and through. I like the signature bags with a pic on them. Also, the leather's really soft and there are enough pockets for things like car park tickets. Oddest thing in mine is probably my PDA. Which tells you I'm a workaholic :o)

  2. PS - the pillowcase thing? Radley bags come with their own little storage bag and a pot of leather cream. Even the little mini ones (my daughter has one, too - special birthday present!).

  3. I think my covetous glances are a sign of my excellent taste. And, yes, you ARE a workaholic.

  4. Oh yes ... and you are in the really-too-expensive phase of bag buying. I wonder what comes next??

  5. Hi Natasha,

    I have a confession to make. I bought my first ever handbag last year. Up till then I've always had bike bags (you know, to sling across your chest when you're cycling) or mini-rucksacks. But then I got published and invited to my first M&B drinks thingy and I had to look tres chic, so I went to Monsoon and found a lovely leather one and nearly had a heart attack when they told me it cost £45 - more than I've ever paid for a bag before.

    I still mostly use my bike bag which I got from Decathlon in Paris (so I can pretend it's chic), cos a handbag's a bit of a liability on a bike. In it there's my mobile (which I hate too and rarely remember to charge), loads of notes from my son's school that I've never bothered to read, a ton of till receipts, my Oyster card (invaluable transport accessory in London), my purse (an annoying zip-up too which snags all the notes), my keys and my ipod (which I always forget to charge too). No make-up, brush or tissues that's for sure.

    What does that say about me I wonder? Probably that I'm a lazy slob.

    oh and btw, if Ellen is browsing and would like to get her copy of The Tycoon's Personal Assistant for her post on my blog on thursday, send me an email at with your snail mail addy.

  6. Um, My purse which is the size of a small handbag, folding hair brush, lippy - got to have lippy, tissues, pens, notebook, two books for all those times spent waiting outside school, dance class, brownies, guides etc, millions of pieces of paper, coupons - love money off coupons, a toy car?!?, my permanently switched off mobile and some sticks of coffee to feed my addiction in case I'm ever trapped in some coffeeless environment.

  7. Sticks of coffee! And there I was thinking coffee only came in cups (and cakes)

    See, this is why I love PHS, you learn something new every day.

  8. I don't have a handbag or a purse. I have a backpack. The main things I carry around with me are my book that I'm reading and my book that I'm writing (or at least part of it). I guess I like the sprawl of a backpack, plus both straps on the shoulders = hands free.

    I always have my glasses and a lip gloss. Money, but it's strewn around because I don't like wallets either. Pens--several types. Band-aids because they make me feel like a good mother. Hair pins because my hair "style" always fails about ten minutes after I leave the house. A credit card and my ID. My bus pass. That's about it.

    I do have several ridiculous little bags I take to weddings and fancy events. They're all beaded and silky and yummy in their impracticality.


  9. At my hen do all the girls put 3 items from their handbag in a clear plastic bag and I had to guess whose was whose - a hilariously good game!

    My handbags start off with good intentions and then descend into a black hole of tissues, half eaten packets of chewing gum, receipts and old tubes of lip sil I'm afraid! I once ruined a mobile phone that got too cosy with my nail file in a particularly cute and tiny bag ...

  10. Reading glasses, receipts, a lottery ticket -- which proves just how dumb I am -- a pen and notebook, a dumb purse that spills out all the change every time I open it and weighs a ton because it's full of store cards. Mobile phone always swtiched off. It's for my use, not anyone else's!