What’s In My Handbag (or What Fits In My Massive Satchel)

This post is a little different from my usual posts. When I saw Money Supermarket were running a competition, I decided I would kill two birds with one stone – enter it, and show you all what I can fit in my satchel – something valuable as you’ll be able to see that it is indeed big enough and deep enough for an everyday school/college/university bag!

I’m still drafting the second instalment of reviews of my satchel from The Leather Satchel Co, but I feel it is getting possibly a little mean of me to not show any pictures anymore. So I thought I’d do a “what’s in my handbag” post. This is not a typical handbag contents for me (although I will briefly describe that at the end) but rather one for a mini-break. The mini-break described here in fact.

So, here’s the outside of my bag. So pretty. Ignore any heads which reflect in the patent leather, I’m having a relaxed greasy-hair-no-makeup day after waking up with a migraine.

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Also ignore my dog poking his head up above the bag. I was going to crop him out, but he’s just too cute! Here he is again…

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And so to the insides!

In the front pocket is my Filofax. I probably didn’t need this over the weekend (if I’m honest it needs pruning, and it is really heavy, and as a result my bag was far heavier than it needed to be – and walking around London for hours with a heavy bag is not overly fun!). Maybe if I got the London tube and street map inserts, which I really want but can’t justify, I’d be able to forgive the extra weight more! But anyway, the front pocket of this satchel is the perfect size for a stuffed personal Filofax. Which is excellent as my Filofax really is my must-have in any bag (see here), it contains everything (contact details, important dates, deadlines, etc) and I’d truly be lost without it. The satchel clearly isn’t too full with the amount of stuff in it either, plenty of room for more!

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Then there is the rest of the inside. The important/interesting content is pictured here:

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There are two cute paper bags, from shopping done over the break. The yellow one is from the bakery (you know, the one where I sent boy to fetch croissants, and pain au chocolat, and the one that bakes awesome bread). The brown one is from Wahaca; we had a fabulous meal there, and had to buy ingredients from the shop to make up the value of a voucher. The bakery bag obviously wasn’t needed after lunch, and the Wahaca bag didn’t seem strong enough to hold the ingredients, so these were transferred to another bag.

Then we have specific items relating to the mini-break. Train and theatre tickets in the envelopes. The theatre programme. An A-Z of London (not photographed here as I had to give it back to my boyfriends parents on returning). A whole packet of plasters (if just out for the day I usually rely on the 2 or 3 kept in my Filofax).

And then the everyday items.

  • Purse. This is a lovely dusky pink one from Accessorize. I actually made a mistake and ordered the incorrect one, as they did have one the exact same shade as my Filofax (yes, I do like thinks matching!) but these coordinate well, and it closes securely. I know I said previously that my Filofax is generally my purse – but when I have a lot of coins (as in London – I love Camden Market where a large amount of people/places don’t take card payments) I like to use a purse as well.
  • Kindle. I love my Kindle! I read a lot (come to think of it, I read and write a lot more than a mathematical science student really should, surely I should spent my time playing with my calculator…) and since I started university I missed having a big bookcase of reading material to hand. A Christmas present of a Kindle was the perfect answer to this, and I know I couldn’t be without it now. It’s also lovely to know I have a lot of extra weight available when I go on holiday – I usually take 12-14 books on a fortnight’s holiday, and last year we became the group unpacking at the check-in desks of Zurich airport… My Kindle is currently housed in a lovely Radley case, which I fell in love with the moment I saw it. It is lovely and secure, a nice neutral colour, but still different, and of excellent quality.
  • Umbrella. I’m a sucker for a nicely designed umbrella, and this vintage-style one from Primark is my current favourite. For the price, it has held up remarkably well, and is currently one of the only ones I have ever owned to last an entire winter (the other we found in a bar in Turkey, used it during a horrendous downpour, and which has lasted a ridiculous four years and is still going strong).
  • Sunglasses. I’m ashamed to say I rarely wear sunglasses, as I feel they don’t suit my face. However I found these in this month’s issue of Cosmopolitan (they are a match to my boyfriend’s everyday glasses). For some reason, taking these didn’t jinx our chance of sun over the last few days!
  • Keys. Note the cute picture of me and my boyfriend. He made me this keyring for a Valentine’s present, and there’s a disgustingly romantic note on the other side. I love carrying it though, cheers me up if I need it! He’s a budding design-y person, so if you’re interested in having someone design something similar, or indeed anything at all, contact me via the Facebook page and I’ll see if he can help.
  • Card Holder. I generally keep this within my Filofax. It’s actually made by Filofax, and completely matches my Malden. I treated myself to it after receiving an instalment/ of my scholarship at university (for academic excellence no less), as I found it difficult to negotiate ticket barriers and a Filofax whilst travelling through London during Friday rush-hour. The joys of a long distance relationship. I definitely recommend something like this if you travel regularly, or alternatively as a nice looking holder for business cards.

And that’s what generally goes in my bag, especially for a mini-break.

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This bag is realllyyyy my university/student/I’m-really-organised bag. It will also, I hope, last long enough to be my bag I use for work when I eventually graduate, although it should at least get me to my industrial placement which will begin next summer. Because of this, it’s usual contents will be rather different to what I’ve described above. The following photos are a little bit improvised, as most of my university stuff is packed away in boxes in the garage.

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You can see from the above photo that my bag will be a lot fuller than with the contents discussed above! The next photo shows just how full it is – it’s NOT crammed, and I could still fit more it, and the straps definitely aren’t straining. But its comfortably full and, as its such a heavy bag, I’d struggle to carry it if it was filled anymore!

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There will always be my Filofax in the front pocket, or at least somewhere in my bag. There will be an A4 folder (this bag also fits an arch lever, amazingly, although not much else would go in with it!) and spare A4 paper (Ryman’s narrow ruled refill, specifically!). There would be my pencil case, and at least one calculator. Most likely a mini-makeup bag for those essential touch ups – Benefit is my go-to brand for this, as I love their pencils. Next year, there will be a lunch box and water bottle, which fit in quite nicely. A lovely classy umbrella. The only thing I’m slightly worried about is where my keys will go. There’s no pocket (other than the front one) in the bag, and I know perfectly well my keys will just fall to the bottom. I’m currently thinking of some kind of zip back which would clip onto the rings where the strap goes, but I’ve not found quite the right thing just yet. If anyone sees anything, please let me know!

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So that’s a little preview of my bag, the type of things that fit into it, and what will hopefully be generally in it next year. A bigger, better, “proper” review of my satchel, or at least part two of it, will be coming soon! But here’s just another photo of it – I couldn’t resist!

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It’s now important for me to briefly analyse the cost of what’s generally in my handbag. Just thinking about my Filofax and Kindle, we’re on just shy of £150 (eek!). Then there’s whatever is inside (luckily I don’t tend to carry cash unless I know I’m somewhere I’ll need it), any tickets (if on a mini-break), ID, make-up (as my ‘touch-ups’ are generally Benefit items, this amounts to a lot), and various random goodies. A typical non-university say would easily see me carrying around probably £250 worth of stuff. Then my bag alone would ‘retail’ at approximately £185. This is assuming my phone isn’t in my bag, as it’s usually in my hand or pocket. To be honest, despite it being classed as a ‘good’ Smartphone, it doesn’t work and I don’t value it – to the point where I don’t bother to pay to insure it. But for arguments sake, if we included it, my bag contents would go upwards of £750. If I was in university, the cost would probably be closer to £150 – I don’t tend to take my Kindle, and again my phone would be in hand. Having considered that, it’s still a surprising amount that I carry around each day, and I think I’d definitely be more wary to pick-pocketers now (having been the victim of an attempted one before, I am a lot more confident with my satchel as it’s so secure). I will point out this though – it may be worth the least amount of anything in my bag, but if anyone tried to steal my lunch, I would be entirely unimpressed. So take the phone, leave the sandwiches!

  • ange

    is your bag a 12.5″ or a 14″?

    • It’s actually a Tallboy, with 33% extra gusset. I’m not sure what the actual dimensiond of the Tallboy is, but it fits everything I need comfortably. From what I read, the addition of a handle reduces the height of the satchel, so if you didn’t want a handle I’m guessing the folders would fit in a 15″. I wanted a Tallboy mainly to ensure it fits my laptop (ironically something I haven’t tried yet!). Hope that helps!

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  • Hana

    Does your bag fit a laptop with the added handle?

    • I’m pretty sure it does – as soon as I’ve had a cup of tea (just got in from work) I’ll give it a go, let you know, and try to update this post with a photograph!

      • Hana

        Please do!! Thank you 🙂

        I have a 15 inch Leather Satchel Co. bag with a handle, and my 13 inch laptop does not fit comfortably, so I’m curious about the tallboy.

        • I can get my 15.6″ Asus laptop in, and the satchel closes comfortably. It is difficult to get the laptop in/out however, but I do think my laptop is wider than most as I haven’t found a bag that isn’t a considerably squeeze! I wouldn’t be able to fit anything at all (except in the front pocket) with my laptop in though.

          Afraid I couldn’t get any good photos to show it fits though, sorry, and I hope I’ve helped!

  • Sarah Bloom

    How much does it weigh? I would really like a satchel and if it’s 2 pounds im ok with it but if it’s five pounds, then im walking all over campus with a textbook, a 3 pound laptop and a 5 pound bag? Ridiculous.

    • It is really heavy, and to be honest it probably is a little heavy. However I love it so much, and it fit in everything I need it to – very few people bring their laptops into university throughout the day, I think if I was carrying that I’d need a lighter bag! Thanks for commenting, and feel free to ask any more questions about my bag.

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  • Hjas

    I was wondering if you had the flap extended on your satchel?

    • Hi! I didn’t specifically ask for an extended flap, but I think they have a formula which extends it slightly when you ask for a wider gusset. I will enquire with the company for you! Thanks for reading, I have just published another similar ‘what fits’ post so have a look here – http://ninegrandstudent.co.uk/2013/10/21/what-ninegrandstudent-takes-to-school/
      Hope you’re enjoying my blog! x

      • Hjas

        Actually I have been emailing them for the past couple of days. I was looking into getting the tall boy satchel in oxblood red for myself as a Christmas present to myself. Thats how I stumbled across your blog. I was pleasantly surprised because your posts help me confirm that I NEEDED this bag plus you got ths se size and colour I was looking into. When I asked them in the email if they would extend the flap with the gusset extension automatically they said no. Thank you for emailing for me, that is very sweet of you.

        • Hjas

          Also I should ask. How do you feel about the flap on your satchel? Do you think its fine the way it is or should I get it extended when I order my bag from your experience with the bag so far.

          • I’m really flattered you think that about my review – I can honestly say I love my bag (the colour is spectacular, so on trend this season, but equally timeless and classic). I personally don’t feel the flap needs extending – I’ve always closed it with the tightest or next tightest hole on the buckle. The only time it ever needs to be looser is if I place a coat across the top, so it drapes across (if you understand what I mean – let me know if you don’t and I’ll photograph it!). You can see my bag is always quite stuffed as well!
            Hope that helps, please ask me any questions you want – I will be doing a ‘How Has It Lasted’ type post about my satchel at some point, so keep an eye out! x

          • Hjas

            That’s awesome, I’ll be looking forward to the post. I think i kind of get what you mean by draping your coat across the top. But not entirely sure.

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