Although I can be a bit lackadaisical around many aspects of my life as a PhD student, I am nothing if not organised. I love bags with sections as I hate not knowing where to find stuff and I have such a terrible short-term memory I really need to keep organised. If a bag looks good, and has a dozen compartments, then I am happy.
The bag I’m currently using for research trips and heading to the office and other general PhD-ness is from Zara they just do the best bags, and I love it. It’s massive, so I can fit all my stuff in without ruining the shape of the bag, but I also think it looks great. My only gripe is that it’s not leather and still costs £50.00, but that’s not a deal-breaker for me the lovely purple lining helps ease this pain. I picked this up in the spring so it’s now last season and doesn’t seem to be on the Zara website, but there is an updated, almost identical new version which you can see here it also comes in grey – nice.
Anyway, here’s what is currently in my handbag for work and PhD duties, and I hope to do a more everyday one in the near future.
1. & Other Stories Leather Wallet ‘Grey Light’ (£39.00) – I had my first trip to the & Other Stories shop on London’s Regent Street at the beginning of September. I was looking for a new purse and when I saw this it was love. Forty quid is a fair amount to pay for a wallet but it is such lovely quality and so…so…organisable. I’ve already told you my feelings on compartments, and this has plenty. Also comes in black and green.
2. Morrissey, Autobiography (£8.99 RRP) – If anyone else insisted their autobiography went straight to become a Penguin Classic I’d probably dismiss them as overly pompous and refuse to buy it. But I don’t feel this way about Morrissey, because, well, Morrissey. The only explanation I need. Just started this and, as expected, it is fabulously strange.
3. Soap & Glory Hand Dream Super Intensive Hand Cream (£7.00) – If you like Soap & Glory products, you already know how good they smell, I don’t need to go on about it. THEIR STUFF SMELLS AMAZING. But unlike many of their delicious-smelling shower and bath products I can use this super-moisturising, gorgeous-smelling hand cream without my skin having a ‘WAH’ moment. It’s one of the best hand creams, and indeed one of the best things overall, that I have ever smelt ever.
4. Hair Things: I’ve tried my best to hyperlink these on the above photo but they are awkward shapes, so apologies. I have incredibly temperamental hair and these are the products I bring on the move to tame it. The dry shampoo is called One More Day by Philip Kingsley (£5.95) which is quite good, but a bit white-residuey if you’re not careful. I only really use this on my fringe when it starts doing that irritating separatey/vaguely greasy thing half-way through the day, and brush through with my Denman Small Grooming Brush (£8.29), which is so handy. I also have my splendid Kent Large Folding Comb (£5.20) on hand for when my hair gets upsettingly tuggy, which it tends to do without much provocation. This may be a bit ‘old gentleman’ for some, but it makes me feel dapper.
5. Muji Pen Case (£2.50) – I always try to keep pens and other stationery bits organised in a case otherwise my bag, especially one as big as the Zara here, just absorbs pens and pencils. This case is handy because it’s not too bulky, transparent and always stays closed. The pens I’ve got in there are Uniball and Muji rollerballs I like me a liquidy pen, the eraser is also Muji and the USB is a pretty ancient one from Maxell so ancient I can’t find a link, sorry.
6. Yay Lunch! Lunchbox (£8.00) – When I got a space in an office I figured a fun lunchbox would encourage me to be prepared enough to bring my own lunch rather than just opting for a Boots meal deal. Whilst I still tend to be lazy when it comes to bringing in my own lunch, I do love this lunchbox! I picked this up from Urban Outfitters.
7. Felt Monster iPhone 5 Case (£19.75) – I feel this will divide readers. This is a phone case the shop owner makes them for all sorts of smartphones, not just iPhones that is made from eco-friendly wool and all are custom orders. Although it looks a little mad, I think it’s really sweet, it keeps my iPhone nice and safe. At first I felt a bit self-conscious having this out in public in case people thought I was carrying around some sort of teddy bear but now I feel no shame – I love it! The colour I have is ‘Caramel’.
8. Make-up Bits – Another reason this Zara bag is great is because it has a BUILT-IN MAKE-UP BAG it’s actually a pocket for a tablet, but my iPad doesn’t fit in with its cover, so I use it for my beauty bits. Unless I’ve got a meeting, seminar or an evening-y thing to go to, I normally can’t be bothered touching up my make-up much. I do, however, always need to have on hand my Chanel Poudre Universelle powder compact (£33.00) in the shade ‘Clair’, which I’m not ashamed to admit I feel quite smug whipping out in a coffee-shop or on a train. I apply this with the EcoTools Retractable Kabuki Brush (£12.00), which is nice and very handy indeed. Also featured are a few essentials: my current all-round concealer of choice the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in ‘Vanilla’ (£21.00) which covers a multitude of sins and my go-to blush also by NARS, a cream blusher called ‘Penny Lane’ (£21.50) which makes me look alive when I feel even at my most uncaffeinated.
Also featured here is my very favourite everyday lipstick, ‘Medieval’ by Lipstick Queen (£22.00), which I think is just brilliant I love that it’s based on the medieval tactic of rubbing berries on the lips. If my lips are suffering from the cold then the Lanolips Lip Ointment in ‘Rose’ (£8.16) does the trick and gives a nice tint too. And last but not least is the perfect portable solution to my fear of carrying around my favourite perfume, the Diptyque Philosykos Solid Perfume (£28.00). Like the Chanel powder this makes me feel rather chic; the packaging and the perfume are both so luxurious.
9. Muji Check Umbrella (£19.95) – They don’t seem to have the navy/green check colour on the Muji website at the moment, but DANG this is handy. And durable. As I rule I tend to hate umbrellas with the passion of a thousand fiery suns as half the time they are too flimsy to do the job as well as fit in your handbag when it’s not actually raining oh the number of times I’ve impulsively abandoned a crap umbrella in a bin. This clever contraption gets round both these problems, however, by having foldable spindles I guess that’s what they are, spindles? which mean it can fit easily in your bag but you straighten them out when going outside, giving you a nice sturdy shield against the weather. Genius!
So that’s my PhD bag showcase! If you have any questions about the products featured let me know in the comments, or let me know your work/study bag essentials!