Welcome to apackedlife.com.

This blog launched in 2017 for people with a passion for travel, planning and getting the most out of life.

What brings you here?

Love travel, preparing to travel, and writing about your travels?

Have little and not so little stationery stashes all over the place, and love journals, planners, diaries, washi and stickers?

Have a desire to organise your world, discover life hacks and enjoy your leisure time more?

Then this is most definitely the place for you.

Well howdy, Y’all.

And forgive my broad Tennessee.  Since we got back from our road trip taking in Nashville, Memphis and the Mississippi Delta last year, I’ve loved the thought of Y’all.  To me it encompasses all that’s right about southern courtesy, and bringing people together.  Let me pour you an iced tea, and we’ll sit on the porch awhile.

Despite that introduction, I’m actually a Brit.  I live in Middle England, in a ramshackle old house which is home to me, my husband and a growing collection of books, stationery, planners, travel accessories and music.  Together we love travel, books and music.  Separately, I like stationery and bringing order to things.  He likes to create chaos.  So we were made to be together.  You’ll get to know us a bit better here.

When I’m not travelling, rustling papers or getting on with life in general, I have a property business and a little gluten free bakery.  After signing up for National Novel Writing Month last November I realised how much I like writing.  This blog was born out of that love, although I’ve been blogging elsewhere for more than ten years.

What you’ll find Here

I cover all kinds of travel: travelogues, planning for travel, equipment and luggage, packing and preparation, and a look at some favourite destinations.  I talk about my secret love for Belgium here, share misadventures aboard Juliet in St Petersburg, and encourage you to hit the road.

In a similar planning mode, we talk about stationery and planners, journaling and record keeping.  If you know what washi is, we may be part of your tribe.  And if not, hang around here and let us bring you over to the sticky patterned side.  We have bullet journals, confessions of a stationery addict and perhaps unsurprisingly, travel journals.

The lifestyle section covers life hacks, how to guides, including how to live your best life, healthy living, goals and self-development.  I share my old house blues, secrets of getting a good night’s sleep, and how to tame a wardrobe behaving badly.

Welcome, And Let me Show You Round

The headers will take you to the blog’s main topics: travel, planning and lifestyle.  The side bar breaks that down a bit more.  If you’ve come here for something specific like packing advice, or bullet journaling I’d suggest starting there.

Subscribe to stay up to date

I’d love you to stick around.  Why not subscribe, and I can let you know about new content on the blog.  And I’d love it if you told me what you’d like to see more of.

How can I help?




If you like enjoying exploring at your own pace, then holidaying afloat in a narrowboat may be for you.  Inland waterways abound around the world, from the USA to Russia and much of Europe.  Here I’ve focused on getting afloat in the United Kingdom, but you’ll find similar arrangements elsewhere.

Canals and rivers run through miles of unspoilt countryside, where you can enjoy the beauty of the land, while seeing all kinds of places that aren’t accessible by road. 

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It’s a tough job auditioning the best beaches in Wales.  There were just so many contenders, and I had to sit down with a proper paper map for shortlisting.  I’ve tried to look for beaches that meet different needs.  You may already have heard me say that there’s a beach for every reason and every season.  Sometimes you want isolated beauty, big skies and a long walk with the sea air in your lungs.  Sometimes you want warmth on your bones,

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Worcestershire, just south of Birmingham, is one of those counties that seems to be so very English.  It’s full of the rolling countryside that inspired the composer Elgar, small towns and villages tucked into the folds of hills, and your quintessential cathedral city in Worcester itself.  Hear that sound?  That’s leather hitting willow, or to be more precise,  the sound of cricket on a lazy summer afternoon.  Pack those picnics, and gather your walking boots,

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For an avid and unapologetic Belgophile such as myself, the reasons to visit Ghent are many and varied.  If you’ve already ventured to Bruges, you’ll understand the heady cocktail of impressive architecture, civic beauty and the tranquility of the waterways in Flanders.  Ghent has many of those same charms, but I like to explain the difference in this way.  While Bruges is all medieval courtly love, Ghent is Game of Thrones, and full of excitement and attitude amidst its beauty.

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If you love to keep your travel memories alive, then creating a travel journal is a great way to recall everything you’ve experienced.  That same travel journal can also help you plan your trip.  You can capture all the decisions you make in the planning stages.

If you’re not entirely sure what your travel journal might contain, then don’t worry, I have you covered.  I’ve been keeping travel journals for decades now, and they’re some of my most cherished possessions. 

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I went searching for a noun for a group of architecture lovers.  Buildingistas?  Archiluvvies?  No such word existed, but I did find that I wasn’t alone in loving the world’s buildings.  Travel for me is so much about how people live their lives, what they build in their spaces and how old and new buildings coexist around the world.  I’ve been lucky enough to explore some absolutely beautiful places, from which this small collection of cities emerged. 

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You may have imagined that being sent to Coventry would be a rather bad thing, but I’m here to tell you it would be very good indeed.  Coventry is a city situated to the east side of the West Midlands, about an hour from London by train and less than half that time from Birmingham.  Having been severely damaged during the Blitz, Coventry has brought itself forward as a centre for reconciliation and peace.  You’ll be surprised at just how many ancient sites remain,

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If you are one of those people who hasn’t yet had the opportunity to discover Shropshire, then I say lucky you.  There’s so much beauty ready for you to see.  This tranquil and stunning county has all kinds of surprising and interesting places to explore.   There’s the village that inspired the concept of the modern Olympic games, a medieval town with two bridges – one English and one Welsh – and more glorious countryside than you have miles in your walk. 

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Once you’ve decided to book your first cruise, it can be a long countdown until you’re heading for the docks.  Or if you are dipping your toe in the water with a last minute bargain short cruise, it may only be a few days before you need to leave.  However long you have, there’s always the tricky question of sorting out what you need to pack, whether for a weekend or a fortnight.  And it can seem to be a bit complicated if you’ve not been on a cruise before. 

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I defy anyone to visit Memphis without tapping their toes, whistling, singing along or doing a little bit of a sway.  It’s a music lover’s dream destination, full of interesting things to see, do and hear.  Don’t let the fact that some of them are called museums deter you.  They’re spaces full of film, sound, stage gear and all sorts of curiosities that form the foundation of what we hear and enjoy today.  If you love good music,

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