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?




The UK is full of interesting cities perfect for a city break holiday.  Whether you want to catch the urban buzz or enjoy a surprising amount of chill in the city, we’ve got options to suit all tastes and pockets.  From coastal charm to historic wanderings, we’ve got you covered. We’ve collected some old favourites and new experiences to give you our top 10 UK city breaks.

Ready for a city break? 

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If you’ve been seduced by the honeyed stone charm of the Cotswolds, then you’re not alone.  It’s one of the most popular parts of England for visitors, drawing 1.2 million eager explorers each year.  But what if I told you that there was a place that is also charming, but relatively unknown?  Drive a little further out to the Welsh borders, and you’ll find Herefordshire’s Black And White Villages.

Black and White?  The area is named after the typical and historic British architecture you’ll find there. 

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If you’re heading to the UK, you may be wondering what foodie treats are in store.  Wonder no more.  We’re about to take you on a gastronomic journey through traditional British food.  From breakfasts to lunches and snacks to suppers, we’re guiding you through the best of British.  Here you’ll find a reassuring mix of the familiar and things you’ve not yet encountered.   Part of any trip is that foodie journey that runs alongside your new discoveries. 

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If you’ve ever been lucky enough to visit Liverpool, you’ll no doubt have become enchanted by this maritime city with the big heart that moves to its own beat. Grown from the shipping needed to support the Industrial Revolution, Liverpool became not just a major port, but also a hub for creativity. Today there’s plenty to enjoy, whether you’re day tripping, visiting for a weekend, or have longer to enjoy all Liverpool and the surrounding area has to offer.

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YouTube travel channels are a great source of inspiration for many of us, especially when we’re not on the road. I’ve built up a big collection of my favourite YouTube travel vloggers, and today I’m sharing with you this selection of travel adventurers. So make a brew, set aside some time, and get inspired by this selection of the best travel vloggers focused on adventure.  From hikers and mountaineers to sailors and boaters, we’ve got you covered for armchair adventures.  

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When you think of England, what do you imagine?  The pageant and ceremony of London?  The rolling countryside and the honeyed stone villages of the Costwolds?  Cathedral cities and historic sites?  The urban buzz of Birmingham, Manchester and beyond?  I’ve got great news for you.  If you’ve already experienced all these fabulous places, I’m opening up my book of the best lesser known spots to encourage you to see more of England.  Here you’ll find wild moors,

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For those of us who enjoy and appreciate the wild beauty the UK has to offer, it seems a pity to confine our explorations to the daylight hours.  Wherever you may be in the UK, don’t forget to look up at night to be rewarded with a whole other vista of beauty.  Stargazing is becoming ever more popular, whether it’s through Dark Sky Discovery Sites, or simply finding somewhere without artificial lighting where you can see what’s above. 

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There’s something about the rhythm of the rails that’s strangely hypnotic.  Add to that the opportunity to see so much during your journey – enjoying both the view and meeting your fellow passengers – and it’s not surprising that rail is a favourite travel experience.  We asked 21 travel writers to tell us about their best undiscovered great rail journeys.  Here you’ll find the best train journeys in Asia and Europe, opportunities to rattle your way through the Americas and chances to see the best of Australasia from the most scenic train rides in the world. 

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It’s said that you never really know someone until you’ve been on holiday with them.  That’s probably true, as vacation time can bring out all sorts of things within us, whether good, bad or simply unexpected.  So I’ve taken a long hard look at life on the road, and here are my suggestions on how to be a better travel buddy.

“You got your problems, I got mine.”  So says the song, and on the road in unfamiliar circumstances,

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Deep to the south of France beyond Arles, there’s a beautiful spot between the Mediterranean and the two strands of the Rhone delta.  Here you’ll find the wetlands and salt marshes of the Camargue.  I first began exploring here before I reached my teens, and my wonder at the spectacular scenery, wildlife, towns, villages and shorelines has never left me.  Come and adventure with me, and I’ll show you the Camargue’s wild spaces, its legends and all it has to offer the dedicated explorer.

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