What's in my handbag

On my hall table there is a lovely old wooden box in which I keep handbag-sized things so that each time I change my bag (which is at least every two days, and usually more as I have a breakfast meeting, a dog walk and a smart evening do most days, all of which require a different bag) I can fish out what is appropriate for that event, be that a tiny brush, scent, hand cream or pen.

I do love knowing what is in people’s handbags, and I am sure I am not the only one. So I thought I’d put together the current favourites that I am carting about with me.

what's in my handbag

(1) Pencil cases definitely rock my boat – I can only really write letters in fountain pen, and I do love a pencil for notetaking. This case is by Conran for Marks & Spencer. This (2) orange Plooms pen is a really lovely pen with which to write. (I wrote about them here.)

Of course I need to carry my keys on something. I’m given lots of keyrings, but my current favourites are this fabulous cheetah (3) Charlotte Olympia Bruce Keyring and (4) CHANEL‘s Classic Keyring/Bag Charm (not available), both of which were Christmas presents from the houses.

My hands get so dry, and a big beauty regret is that I didn’t start using hand cream religiously in my twenties. I like the size of this deeply moisturising (5) Lanolips Antibacterial Hand Cream, and love even more that it replaces hand sanitiser.

Squinting is not a good look on me: I always, but always carry sunglasses, as my astigmatism makes me very sun sensitive. I’ve just been given these (6) Marc Jacobs Square Cat Eye Sunglasses, and they are very flattering – blue frames are a great colour for blondes.. Here in equally good brown (blue not available at present).

I keep forgetting to carry a case for my sunglasses to avoid scratches – the problem is that they are often quite large and hard-sided, so they don’t fit into a small bag. My new solution is to buy soft cases: I picked (6a) this Butterfly Soft Sunglasses Case up from Accessorize for a fiver at Gatwick last week on my way to Austria.

(7) Clinique’s All About Shadow 8-Pan Palette in Neutral Territory 2 is very slimline, and fits into the slimmest of evening bags. The colours are perfect for everything from highlighting the browbone to lining the eyes with a dampened small brush – and there’s a mirror for on the hoof touchups.

(8) A sweep of AERIN Pretty Bronze Portable Illuminating Powder helps shape and lift my complexion, and the clever delivery system means that the powder doesn’t spill.

(9) Most of the time, I don’t carry a makeup bag, tending to just lob things in as I need them. But I usually have this excellent tiny Japonesque Go Curl Eyelash Curler kicking about – it’s so much smaller than a standard one with metal handles, and using it really widens the eyes on a no-make up, make up day.

(10) I’m loving Estée Lauder Double Wear All Day Glow BB Glow Moisture Makeup for non foundation days.

(11) Diptyque Eau Mohéli Roll-on Cologne, 20 ml. Roll-ons are such a brilliant idea – they don’t leak, and are way under the liquid allowance for planes.

(12) Everyone carries lip balm right? This is a very grown up one. I cannot pretend that I don’t love the packaging. A lot more grown up than Chapstick. CHANEL Hydra Beauty Nutrition Nourishing Lip Care

(13) My rosacea means that I pretty much always carry at least concealer. Current favourite: this non chalky Perricone MD No Concealer Concealer, which I often use on my cheeks to tone down my flushing.

(14) Jewellery often sits in the bottom of my bag: I grab it as I rush out the door and forget to put it on. When I do remember, this Eddie Borgo Cone Hinged Bracelet (gift) is my current favourite piece.

(15) My go-to lipstick is MAC Vegas Volt – it’s a lovely deep coral, almost orange, and I wear it every single day. (It’s the shade you’ll see my wearing in most of my photographs.) It seems to suit nearly all skin tones too.

(16) I’m a big fan of tiny sizes of products – Guerlain, Lancome, Benefit and Smashbox  have all at times produced small mascaras, highlighters and the like. Above is a sampler size of Smashbox’s brilliant Full Exposure Mascara.

Note: All beauty products have sent as samples


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Great post! I especially like the idea of the a lovely box of stuff on the hall table full of small sized things to pop into your bag on the way out-brilliant! I always forget a couple of things whenever I change bags. Also I too like the Chanel lip balm, it tastes like cupcake frosting, and you are right the packaging is Way Better Than Chapstick!


I do so love your posts Sasha – whether it is a lovely lunch for friends and family ,or simply the everyday things that calibrate our day, you remind us to take pleasure in making the simple special. Thank you!
Happy Easter!


Lovely essentials!
Can you write about your a.m. and p.m. skin care routine, especially about products for rosacea prone skin types? Something that helps you with redness and flushing. I’d love to read about it as I also have very sensitive, rosacea prone skin. Thank you!


Excellent post Sasha. especially the tip about the sunglasses case. Have now bought a couple of those.

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