I have to admit, I’m somewhat nosy and love, love, love the idea of knowing what other people keep in their handbags. I’ve done one of these ‘what’s in my bag’ posts back in 2015 when I first launched the blog – you can read the 2015 edition here (which, admittedly, isn’t the best).
Seeing as it’s been over six years since I did the last ‘what’s in my bag’ post, I thought I’d share an updated version. After all, in the past few years, my life has changed a hell of a lot – in 2015 I had only just left university and my life in Cheltenham and was working as a copywriter, I now live in a vibrant city and work as a beauty, lifestyle and shopping journalist.
This edition of ‘What’s In My Handbag’ comes with a slight twist – this time around I’m sharing all of my must-have essentials for life as a journalist.
What does a freelance journalist carry in their handbag?
Working as a freelance journalist means that I’m often working from random locations – the freedom to be able to do this is something that I will always be grateful for but it means I need to be prepared – and need to have my essentials on hand for as and when I need them.
My current bag is a stylish vegan leather number, which I am totally in love with. It’s not the biggest bag but I really love it. (I do have to carry my laptop separately but it’s worth it.)
My iPhone (and my go-to apps of course) is the most crucial essential I carry. It allows me to work effectively and helps me to organise my time and schedule – if I didn’t have it, I would definitely miss meetings and deadlines.
Plus, my phone is a great alternative to carrying a separate camera, dictaphone, and video camera. (I know lots of journalists opt to carry these separately for enhanced quality, but in my current role it’s not necessary.) I have various apps downloaded on my phone to make conducting interviews easier, however, in my current roles (and due to the ongoing pandemic situation) I tend to conduct interviews over the phone and via email.
(I also pack my charger into my bag each day, as I use my phone so much that the battery never lasts a full day.)
Mini Ring Light
I do often add a mini ring light to my bag if I know that I am going to be filming content or taking photos and lighting could be an issue. I have a rechargeable mini ring light that clips onto my phone and offers a range of light settings.
I always keep my Kindle in my bag so that I have quick access to all my essential journalism books – Law for Journalists has come in handy on many occasions. I also love having my Kindle on hand as a self-care tool for when I need a little ‘me time’ or have a few minutes to chill out.
I often have to take work calls or join virtual meetings, so having a pair of earphones on hand is vital, because it means wherever I am I can attend Zoom meetings without worrying about background noise.
Notepad + Pen
I also never leave the house without a notepad and pen. (I mean, are you even a journalist if you don’t carry a notepad and pen in your bag?!)
I have a life-threatening allergy to peanuts, tree nuts and wasp venom, so I always make sure that I have my allergy pack on hand. (My allergy pack consists of two Epi-pens (adrenaline auto-injectors) and a pack of antihistamines.)
Hand Sanitiser + Face Mask
I always make sure to have a bottle of hand sanitiser in my bag (I currently have a lovely watermelon scented number), and of course a face mask. (Sometimes I also pop a bottle of surface sanitiser into my bag, so that I can spritz surfaces before I pop my laptop down.)
Lip Balm + Hand Cream
I don’t go anywhere without a tube of lip balm; all that chatting in Zoom meetings dries my lips out. While hand cream is a must as my hands always seem to dry out (I blame the aircon that most co-working spaces have). My current handbag go-to’s are Blistex Intensive Moisturiser Cherry and Blistex MedPlus, as well as a tube of Heath Hand Salve, which is wonderfully hydrating and super gentle.
I have super fair skin and burn exceedingly easily (just a hint of sun and my skin starts to redden), so I always like to carry sun protection in my bag, just in case the sun decides to make an appearance and I fancy working outside. My current go-to’s are No7 Protect & Perfect Advanced Sun Protection Spray and Facial Sun Protection, both of which are hypo-allergenic and ideal for sensitive and allergy-prone skin like mine.
4head Headache Balm
Working as a journalist can be stressful at times, especially with lots of tight deadlines. And as I tend to get tension headaches when I’m stressed, I always like to carry a tube of 4head – a non-medicinal menthol-style stick that can help to reduce headache-related pain.
I always like to carry a tube of mints in my bag, as they’re a great tool for keeping your breath fresh, which is especially important when conducting interviews or attending meetings in person.
I also like to keep a small selection of makeup in my bag, so I have everything I need, should I want to touch up my look. My current go-to’s are a tube of No7 concealer, a lip liner from Colour Pop, and a liquid lipstick from Ciate.
[*This post contains PR samples*