It's often said that a woman carries her life in her handbag. While this saying doesn't take into account all the random things I accumulate in my handbags – flyers, snack wrappers, pretty leaves that I felt the urge to pick up, bus tickets – it does hold some truth. As a freelance journalist, having a bag that is organised, hard-wearing and stylish sets me up for the day and helps me to be ready for whatever comes my way.
On research days and deadline days when I'm writing features, I tend to work between my flat, coffee shops and a coworking space in Cardiff, Wales. For days like this where I'm mostly desk-based or commuting, the Beauchamp is my companion. It's a hardcore, compact and feminine backpack that keeps everything I need safe, dry (essential given the Welsh rain) and tidy. If something crops up during the day, say an unexpected interview opportunity, it's really helpful to know all of my essentials are in one place; I can scoop up my bag, knowing it has my smartphone, notebook, pens and practical fodder inside, and go.
Part of my work includes checking out UK cities, events and eateries for travel publications. I love this work, but it means I'm on my feet a lot and wandering around places I've not always been before. I need to be able to sling my camera in and out of my bag, along with my raincoat and notepad, so the Beauchamp comes into its own again. With it, I'm hands-free and able to go wherever I need or please.
If I'm on an overnighter, having space for a change of clothes and a small washbag is a must. I'm also into cross stitching and playing video games when I travel, so I like to have pockets to store small craft projects and my Nintendo 3DS. This is when I switch to the Maddox. It's what I call a Mary Poppins bag, the type where you can fit so much in without it looking like you're carting a skip-load of things under your arm. Being robust, it survives the knocks and spills of travelling on public transport as well as being comfortable enough for the exploring I do during the daytime.
Once I've done my work, it's time to chill and catch up with friends, family and hobbies. I became a freelancer to have greater freedom over the work I do, as well as when and where I do it, so downtime is hugely important to me. Both the Beauchamp Backpack and Maddox Tote seamlessly look the part with a sweater and jeans on a work location or with a dress when I'm in a bar with pals, so I don't have to worry about my bag not being in keeping with where I am. There's even room for my power bank in both, so I can keep my phone, laptop and gaming devices topped up when I'm away from a plug.
What this snapshot of my life shows is that having the right bag for your life can make it easier to grab opportunities when they arrive and set you up for a smoother work/life transition. With no fixed workspace, these bags are my on-the-go offices, my storage solutions for last minute travelling and the safety blankets holding my life essentials. Through all this, they look beautiful. I'm not an overly girly girl, instead preferring to mix classic style and hints of personality into my clothes and accessories. The Maddox and the Beauchamp tick all the boxes – style, substance and something special. It'll take a lot for me to move on from them. In fact, I don't think I ever will (unless KNOMO bring out another beauty, that is).
Follow Amy at @YayAmyPay