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?


This error message is only visible to WordPress admins

Error: No feed found.

Please go to the Instagram Feed settings page to create a feed.



If you’ve been wondering when to book your trip to the United Kingdom, here are some suggestions to help you decide.  With the help of fellow travel writers, you have a glimpse of the UK in all four seasons.  Will you decide to visit in Spring, with lambs in the fields and blossom on the trees?  Or the lazy days of summer, with surfing, beach huts and more sunshine than you’d imagine?  Then there’s autumn,

Read More »

Every time I go to write something about the sea, my head is full of the chorus of descriptions writers have used for the fathomless deep bounty of the oceans.  If you, like me, are inspired by salt on your lips, azure in your eyes, and that relentless rhythm of the waves, here are my favourite quotes about the sea to reinvigorate your sea fever.  From classic tales of seafaring, to more recent takes on the majesty of the ocean,

Read More »

A crunchy collection of leaves underfoot, blackberries in the hedgerows, crops being harvested in the fields, and a faint crisp of cold in the morning air.  They’re all signs of autumn in England.  So now that summer has passed, what has England to offer the traveler in autumn?  Possibly more than you’d expect.  Here’s why I think you should consider visiting England in the autumn months of September to November.

Planning to see Autumn in England? 

Read More »

Finding reliable cruise tips for first timers can be a tricky business.  If you are taking your first trip afloat, there seem to be so many suggestions about what to do, pack and wear, and it can be confusing.  I’ve tried to narrow this down to the things that really matter to help you have your best trip afloat.

Want to save this for later?  Why not pin it now!

Insider Cruise Tips For First Timers

What I’ve Learned About Cruise Tips For First Timers

As a former cruise agent,

Read More »

Long haul flight essentials can make all the difference to your trip.  If you’ve ever flown long haul, you’ll remember that spending 12 or more hours in the air can be a challenge.  There’s the unique atmosphere on the plane – dry, sometimes chilly and loud – the close proximity to a large number of strangers, and the need to remain still for long periods of time.  My own upcoming long haul journeys have sent me back to old travel journals and onwards to an intense scrutiny of other people’s long haul experiences. 

Read More »

One of the great joys of writing about travel is that you get to share some of the most beautiful destinations you’ve had the pleasure to experience.  Today I’m completing a trip around the United Kingdom that focuses on its best beaches.  We’ve already visited England, Wales and Scotland, so today I’m exploring Northern Ireland beaches.  If you’ve never had the chance to see this stunning part of the United Kingdom, it’s time to get booking. 

Read More »

If you’re ready for a short break somewhere quintessentially English and naturally beautiful, the Cotswolds has to be high on your list.  An area of outstanding natural beauty, the hills and valleys of this part of England’s heartland reward exploration.  With just two days, you won’t see everything that the Cotswolds has to offer.  But you’ll have an understanding of what makes this part of the country so very special.  I’m taking you on a Cotswold weekend break to remember.

Read More »

If you’ve not yet discovered the beauty of Wales, there’s no better way to embrace its charms than by exploring the Wales Coast Path.  The first country to create a path covering its entire coast, Wales has to be commended for its commitment to helping people enjoy the big outdoors. This epic journey taken as a whole covers 870 miles of cliffs, beaches, valleys and unexpected extras.  But of course you can enjoy just a fraction of this distance over a shorter period of time. 

Read More »

People ask what’s special about dolphins.  These intelligent and playful mammals demonstrate many attributes that we as humans value: communication skills, curiosity, social bonds, cooperation and altruism.  If you love these fascinating creatures, it’s certainly possible to see wild dolphins from a number of places around the UK coast.  We’ve investigated where to spot dolphins in the UK, and taken you along on our trip to meet the bottlenose dolphins of Cardigan Bay, Wales.

No time to read now?

Read More »

Heather and gorse moors.  Highland cows.  Mirror-like lochs.  Rugged mountains and swooping glens.  Castles and historic houses.  Warm welcomes.  It’s all part of exploring the Scottish Highlands.  Covering the very north west of Scotland, the Highlands is one of the most sparsely populated places in Europe.  The Highlands welcomes just over half a million visitors a year.  Those half a million are very lucky people indeed, and I’ve been privileged to be among them many times. 

Read More »