In my bag

What's in your bag? Helen Bailey, general manager at Blickling Hall.

What's in your bag? Helen Bailey, general manager at Blickling Hall. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Looking after one of Norfolk’s most picturesque and iconic historic stately homes is, admits Helen Bailey, a pretty idyllic job.As manager of the National Trust’s Blickling Estate, every working day is different.

“I absolutely love it here. It is hard work but it is such a varied job and I never know what I am doing from one day to the next. I am in charge of a 5,000-acre estate, so it isn’t just the hall and gardens, but the surrounding land and buildings as well.”

She says her handbag has to accommodate everything she might need in a day. “My bag definitely has to be very capacious. Not only do I need it to be practical for my job, but I am always tempted by the secondhand book shop here at Blickling so my bag needs to be big enough to get books in as well,” she laughs. “At the moment I have a very summery bag which is bright and colourful, from the Red by Marc Ecko range. I am hoping it might encourage the sun to come out.”

Cath Kidston hand cream, Wild Flowers collection, 3 x 90ml, from £6 available nationwide.

I love this floral handcream because it smells really nice and is great on my hands. I can often find myself outdoors and also my office can get very cold, so I always have handcream in my bag.

Canon Ixus 200 IS camera, prices start at £100

I always have a camera, and this little Canon is great because it is small and compact. I try to take a photograph everyday to post on my online photo journal. Although it is a personal project, it crosses over into work as I am often capturing the hall and the surrounding landscape.

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Ray Ban Ritual sunglasses, available from vintage and secondhand sellers, prices vary.

I have had them about 20 years and have seen them sold as “vintage”. Mine now have prescription lenses in and they have lasted me so well. They are just such a classic shape and brilliant sunglasses.

National Trust Little Guide to the Great Outdoors, available from the National Trust, or free to download at

I like to keep a copy of this guidebook in my bag because it is very handy to use when I am out and about and I can show people I meet exactly what we do.

Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Ultra lipstick, £19.50

I tend to choose a lipstick according to colour not brand, although I do like Elizabeth Arden. I like the one in my bag to be a neutral shade, as then I know whatever I am wearing it will match if I need lipstick during the day.

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