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?




Brussels has got much to recommend it.  From the intricate splendors of Grand Place and its ornate guild houses to the gastronomic trifecta of chocolate, chips and beer, the city has so many fine attributes.  But for something a little different, we’re venturing out of the city centre to the commune of Saint-Gilles, described as a village in the city.  Come with me, and I’ll show you seven beautiful reasons that make the short journey so worthwhile.

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When you’re getting ready to pack for your next trip, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by everything left on your to do list.  So let us take away the pain from your packing with this guide to those 21 travel items that are essentials for your long haul flight.  From your choice of bag to those vital travel items that you can’t do without, we’ve got your back.  Travel necessities, comfort items, just-in-case extras and entertainment while you fly long haul are all part of today’s guide. 

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Taking a Baltic cruise came into our heads after we’d been to some of the more traditional sailing areas of the Mediterranean.   Sweden, Finland, Russia, Estonia…there were so many places we wanted to see, but we had comparatively little time in which to get away.  This was an opportunity to make the most of the time available.  We agreed we could return to our favourites to explore them in more detail.

Baltic Cruise: The White Nights

We were fascinated at the thought of the White Nights. 

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Historic Ludlow? Even if you’re a Brit, you may not yet have stumbled upon the charming historic town of Ludlow in Shropshire.  It dates back to the times of William the Conqueror, when a castle was built at the junction of the rivers Teme and Corve to defend the settlement from the Welsh.  Now the castle hosts an annual food festival, and the whole town is a renowned foodie destination.  Bring your appreciation of history and a large appetite,

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If you’re searching for some hidden travel treasures in England, come peer in this treasure chest.  I’m lucky to inhabit a beautiful island, full of diversity and contrasts.  But if you have seen many of her beauties, what’s left to explore?  When you’ve asked “Where should I go?” and the answers all sound familiar, where should you try next? Here’s a new take on the destinations you should consider for your next trip.  Come with me to see some of England’s hidden travel treasures.

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It’s a cold grey January as I’m writing this, and the call of the horizon is loud and clear.  It makes me think of what we have already planned for our travels, and what awaits us, as yet undiscovered.  It also makes me think how we’re going to get our travel funds together.

“Experience is far more valuable than money will ever be.” – Anon

Back in the mists of time when I had a Big Job,

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Sometimes life in the middle of an island can have you longing for the sea.  I grew up near the beach, and little pleases me more than getting back to the coast.  With a birthday to celebrate in December, we found a mini cruise to get our dose of salty air.  The first piece of illustration artwork I saw onboard – take me to the ocean – summed up my feelings perfectly.


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The Belgian Coast is small but beautifully formed.  It’s much appreciated by Belgians and international visitors alike.  The coast stretches from De Panne near the French border up to Knokke-Heist near the Dutch border.  We’ve visited many spots along this little stretch of coastline.  This year, we got to know the area better by taking the Kusttram or coastal tram along the 42 miles (68 kilometers) of the coast.

Belgian Coast: Previous Visits

When we’ve been to the coast before,

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So you’ve been lucky enough to spot or be treated to a last minute trip?  Here’s all you need to do to get ready for an amazing time without stressing, forgetting things at home or work, or setting off without something crucial.  Let’s hit the road happy.

Last Minute Trip: Keeping the home fires burning

Now’s the time to dig out – if you kept them – any lists from previous trips, so you can sort out what needs to happen at home before you leave. 

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If there are two things in my life I’d struggle to give up, then both books and travel would be there, arm in arm, in those top spots.  So books that appeal to my sense of wanderlust are particularly special to me.  Let me take you through my bookshelves to share some of the delights that take me miles from the comfort of my sofa.  Welcome to wanderlust conveyed by print.  Here are my favourite books that I hope will help to inspire the wanderlust in you. 

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