Wednesday, December 10, 2008

From Handbag

When handbags and poetry come together.  This comes from, and while this is a post from last year, I found it to be an interesting read.  Hope you enjoy!


Handbags Move Women to Poetry

Top women’s website has been inundated with poems in praise of handbags.

Award-winning poet Kate Bingham started the ball rolling with her poem, "Handbags"

( and since then women have needed no further encouragement. Kate Bingham, who was nominated for the prestigious Forward Prize in 2006, will be judging the best entry at the end of May.

She says: "The poems we've had in so far have been great. The handbag is obviously heavy with meaning. One woman called her bag ‘my comfort blanket', to another it was ‘my soulmate' and yet another wrote, ‘Without you on my shoulder, / I could not carry the burden on my own.' Whether it's chic or shabby, the humble handbag seems to say a lot about being a woman"

Natasha Aitken, editor of, says: "National Handbag Month is all about celebrating the wonderful (and sometimes weird...) relationship women have with their bags. At we take inspiration from that relationship, trying to cram as many goodies into the site as we do into our handbags. But even we were surprised by quite how much passion there is out there...!"

The competition forms part of's "National Handbag Month" activity in May. Today the results of a nationwide survey were released, which provides further proof of the depth of feeling women have for their bags

When asked what they would save in a fire, a whopping majority of 63% would grab their bags in preference to a photo album (32%), a scarf knitted by grandma (2%) - and even a box of old love letters (3%). The only places where sentiment wins over style are the Channel Islands, Borders and North Scotland - in each case a majority (67%) would rescue the photos.

Love of the handbag even overtakes the maternal instinct - an incredible 85% would prefer it if their child's schoolbag was stolen, rather than their own handbag. Again the exception is found in Borders and North Scotland, where votes were equally divided.

Ethics also go out the window when it comes to the perfect bag. When asked if they would consider buying a fake, only 25% said no because they would worry it had been made in a sweatshop. As many as 53% of women say: "Snap it up as fast as possible!"

Women know how much bags mean to other women. We asked which of the following would be the naughtiest: reading a postcard addressed to your boyfriend, going through your sister's wardrobe when she's out,rooting around in a friend's handbag without asking, or reading an email over a colleague's shoulder. Guess what? 61% said the worst sin was rifling through a friend's bag. Reading a colleague's email came second - with just 22%.

One reason you might not want to go through a friend's bag is the horrible things you risk finding in there. When we asked for the yuckiest thing women have ever kept in their bags a stunning 16% of 16-17 year olds across the country and 18% of women in the Northeast admit to havingyesterday's knickers lurking in their bags. Other confessions include: a fish canapé, a piece of stilton cheese, a child's nappy, a stick of chicken satay and doggie treats...

Although women are spending more than ever on bags, it's only in the South West (57%) and West (60%) where the majority think looking good is a matter of money. For the rest of the country, 59% believe that you can't buy style.

When it comes to keeping these prized possessions safe, HTV West and the South/South East are the best bet. Only 8% in South/South East have ever had a bag stolen, and in HTV that falls even lower - none of our sample had ever had a bag taken. In Yorkshire by contrast, 33% said yes, by far the highest in the country. Wherever they are though, women don't feel enough effort is made to keep bags safe. 88% said more security measures such as cloakrooms, handbag clips and CCTV were urgently needed. And if they are mugged, nearly half will fight off their attacker, while 65% of women who have had a bag taken agree that "It felt like someone had stolen a part of me".

For further information please contact:

Louise Bury


Notes to Editors:

About National Handbag Month is crammed full of everything you could ever want, taking it's inspiration from the role a real handbag plays in a woman's life. In celebration of the joy of bags, have declared May to be National Handbag month. The month includes a host of discounts and offers on the site, including the chance to win a designer handbag every day in May. There is also a poem, "Handbags", written by award-winning poet Kate Bingham, and the chance for users to enter their own poems into a competition to be published in's Little Pink Book diary. To join in go to:

About was the first dedicated women's lifestyle website to launch in the UK, and is now the market leader.

Handbag is a stylish, glamorous, trusted and informative editorial environment that provides the inside track for busy women online, on everyday important issues like relationships, health, careers and beauty. With the luxury look of a glossy and the lightening reactions of a daily, offers a breadth of coverage from expert writers that has established its reputation as the leader in a crowded field.

Launched in 1999, it now includes the subsidiary sites, aimed at 18- to 30-year-old women, for women aged over 35 and, a pregnancy and birth site.

The Handbag network was acquired by the National Magazine Co. in October 2006.

About The National Magazine Company

The National Magazine Company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hearst Corporation established by William Randolph Hearst in 1910.  NatMag publishes 15 consumer titles in the UK: CoastCompanyCosmoGIRL!,CosmopolitanCosmopolitan BrideCountry LivingEsquireGood HousekeepingHarper's BazaarHouse BeautifulPrimaPrima Baby,SHEYou & Your Wedding, and Zest.  The group publishes a further two magazines, Men's Health and Runner's World, through a joint venture known as NatMag Rodale and three large scale weeklies, Best Revealand Real People through a joint venture known as ACP-NatMag.

About The Hearst Digital Network

The Hearst Digital Network, a division of NatMag, publishes the websites for NatMag magazines, including the Handbag network.

Published: 25 October 2007

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