My New Handbag + What’s in Your Bag?

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My New ESPE Bag

My New ESPE Bag

I was taking a stroll with Mark in the Glebe when I fell in love. Not with another man—one husband is enough, no, really—but with a lovely handbag showcased in the window display.

I stepped into the store, checked the bag, checked the price tag, checked Mark’s hands to make sure he hadn’t stolen anything and stepped out. The bag was close to $100, way too much for an impulse purchase.

A week later, I was still thinking about it. See, some women are into shoes but I’m into handbags. I only adopt one at the time and I usually keep it until it falls apart.

For a long time, I loved bags from ESPRIT. My last two bags were from Roots—not the genuine leather kind, the cheaper “found at Winners” deal.

I went back to the store once again to check out the bag. I had never heard of the brand, ESPE.

Later that day, I went online on to check out the entire collection. This is where I realized the bags were much cheaper on the retail’s website. The store in the Glebe that was selling them was taking a huge margin.

I had a bit of an etiquette moment here. Was it morally reprehensible to buy the bag online for less money after checking it out at a brick-and-mortar store? Wasn’t it what the industry calls “showrooming”? Shouldn’t I be supporting local small businesses?

Well, at least I was supporting a Canadian company—ESPE is based in Toronto.

My coveted handbag was $62 online. I didn’t hesitate long and I decide to live with my guilty conscience.

I put the red “Mascot” backpack in my virtual shopping cart and I placed my order.

Two days later, it was delivered at my front door. It was beautiful. Three zipped pockets, a lovely flowery pattern on the outside, and the shoulder bag conveniently converts into a backpack—great for when I ride my bike!

So this is my new bag. I love it. Money well spent, if you ask me.

Like most women, I carry my life in a bag. I blogged about the content of my bag a long time ago, back when I was a teacher. It’s funny to see what changed and what didn’t.

So, what’s in my bag these days?

  • My giant wallet
  • The house keys… well, key, really, I have a single key but four keychains!
  • My smartphone
  • Cigarettes and lighter (no comment, please)
  • A comb (that I never use but who knows, I may need it!)
  • A few Advil
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Lip balm
  • Mints
  • Snacks for Mark (usually a PB sandwich, a few crackers and pouch of pureed fruit)
  • A 20-dollar bill hidden in the inside pocket (for emergency)
  • Coupons (I’m not an avid couponer but when they are for products I actually buy, why not?)
  • USB key
  • Kindle

Are you into handbags? Which brands or styles do you like best?

And what’s in your bag, ladies and gentlemen?

(In case you were wondering, ESPE didn’t ask me to write about them!)

Inside the Bag

Inside the Bag

Great for Biking!

Great for Biking!


About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


  1. I have in my handbag: (huge (and money-empty) wallet), car keys, home keys, smartphone, a pack of paper tissues, a pen, some folded paper of some sort (this varies), an emergency sanitary towel, old shop receipts and some bracelets/little toys/hairpins in the bottom, these vary too.
    And sometimes this list seems to me very Mary Poppins-like, considered the size of my handbag, about the size of an open hand 😀

    • Oh wow! That’s magic!

      I use to keep receipts as well, mostly because I always forgot to throw them away. Now I discard them as soon as I step out of the store, unless it’s a major purchase.

  2. I once bought a beautiful wallet from them, I loved it and it lasted for a rather long time before I had to part with it!

    I love your bag by the way!

  3. I love reading what is in other people’s handbags – why is that? Yours is similar to mine, though – only way nicer! Mine was one I bought on offer from Forever 21!

    • Forever 21 has awesome stuff. I like their bags too! I like reading about bags’ contents as well, probably because it provides a glimpse into someone’s life.

  4. Love it! Very pretty. I recently upgrade since my boyfriend gave me a Desigual handbag for my 30th birthday! Now I can fit a lot of things in it… the downside being that I carry it around with me ALL day so I can’t let it get too heavy either (I change rooms every hour at work and the salle des profs has been known for theft…). But I understand your excitement.

  5. Nothing too shocking in your bag. 🙂 I didn’t realize other people carried around USB keys, though! You never know when you might need to save a file…

  6. Kiwi en Turkey (Kim) on

    I got my bag last year on sale from a chain store in Australia. It has in my GIANT wallet which I also got on the same day from a store where it was Au$200 down to $60. I love it. Also I have my passport (a must for random Police and military checks – which made me very uneasy carrying around on a day-to-day basis when I first moved here), residency permit, work permit and bank books in a cute leather booklet I got from a market in Perth. And then an assortment of random things – USB key, house keys, old receipts, business cards…. and more often than not – a rock or two (I’m a geologist). Rocks can also be found in pockets, backpacks, car, and often go through the wash!

    • Oh, I love the “rock” story! That’s so cool. Do you pick them up because they catch your eye? I also have a giant wallet. I can’t do normal-size wallets, too many cards (sadly, too few banknotes though).

  7. I am super into ESPE – I have been coveting one of their wallets forever. Once I was out at, of all places, Kaleidascope Books in the Glebe – it’s a kids’ bookstore but they had a line of ESPE rings and necklaces that I’d never seen before and never seen since. I bought a ring and it’s a treasured item.

    I love that your bag can convert to a backpack – it’s going on my wish list!

    • Their wallets are pretty awesome. I’m just discovering the brand but it seems pretty famous in Canada. Apparently they have a physical store in Toronto.

  8. Martin Penwald on

    We are talking of a 35-40% price difference here, not a 3-4% one. Yes I’d like rather buy in a store, but with such a price delta, I don’t see the point. Naturally, a store has to pay for dealers, location, etc, so it comes with a price, but hey, it is the joys of free market. Not that I am a big fan of the system, but it is not as if canadian politics leaned on the left side (by the way, I haven’t understand why the NDP reject the Lynn’s budget which contains NDP’s features at first look. So, after a [costly] election, same budget with a majority … Still difficult to understand candian politics).

    And you don’t need an in-store warranty. And no sellers is going to jump on you when you just look at items ( « Lâchez-moi le slip, nom de nom » ).

    No bag, just my pockets (Left, cards and canadian money, eventually a cell phone. Right, keys and US money).

    • La voix de la raison, encore une fois! 🙂

      I wish I could just put all my mess (I don’t carry that much, really) in my pockets but it makes my ass looks gigantic. Yes, I am that shallow. And try to sit when you have an Android in one pocket and a giant wallet in the other!

  9. About store / internet debat, I finish usually to buy on internet, convincing myself that people are also working behind the website… but I’m the first complaining about stores desappearing…
    your bag look really nice by the way 🙂 does mark adore to empty and fill it ?
    I’m about yo buy a kindle after several months of thinking… are you happy with it ?!

    • I love my Kindle. Best thing I bought, ever, especially if you travel/live abroad. Mine is an old model (bought it in…2009? 2010?) and it’s very sturdy. Don’t buy a tablet-like Kindle, you need the boring black and white screen otherwise it strains your eyes.

      I can get the latest books in France without paying a fortune for them, and I can switch from fiction, non fiction, etc. easily instead of carrying two or three hard cover.

      If you buy one let me know, I’ll get you some cool books!

  10. At the moment, my every day bag is just a small cheap purse I picked up during last year’s sales. The clasp is broken, so I should find something to replace it. I tend to treat my bags like crap (throwing it on the ground and the like), so I don’t like to spend a lot of money on them. I also prefer a small bag or else I tend to put too much stuff in it which isn’t good for my back!

    In my bag, I usually have:
    – my wallet
    – chapstick
    – a small mirror
    – ibuprofen or the like
    – a small snack
    – plastic bags (for when I have my dog!)
    – keys

  11. I’m allergic to handbags; I’m all about the daypack. The closest thing I have to a handbag is my MoMAQNS shoulder bag from 2002:

    I’m not sure that will change whenever kids come into our lives, I’d probably just get a bigger daypack. I REALLY REALLY wish women’s clothing had more pockets!

    I use a men’s wallet, the smallest one I can find that fits a few cards and my transit ticket. Unfortunately it doesn’t have a coin section that closes and my change keeps falling out, so before our trip I caved and bought a little change purse for one euro at the Chinese shop in Porto. We’ll see how long that lasts!

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