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 are thinking of traveling to the UK, you may be wondering what to include in your trip.  If you have just ten days, it’s near impossible to see everything you want to explore, and making choices is challenging.  But fear not!  We’ve put together a selection of 10 day itineraries tailored to different interests and tastes.  Here you’ll find a 10 day UK trip itinerary for you.

10 Day UK Trip Itinerary: How Best To Enjoy It

When I was researching this article to sift out my best recommendations,

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Can you possibly do justice to the magnificence of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bruges in just one day?  Clearly not, but it’s well worth the try.  The capital of Flanders in the north west of Belgium is laced with canals, cobbled streets, and medieval buildings.  Once one of the world’s chief commercial cities, Bruges now receives more than 16 million visitors each year who stay in the city, day visitors adding considerably to that number. 

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Picture the scene.  Your bags are packed, your plants watered, your loved ones hugged.  But you’ve got this tiny nagging kernel of doubt deep in your soul.  So once again you open your bag and start rummaging, hoping that you have everything you need.  Stress no more.  Here’s your essential travel document checklist, and a few less essential documents that might be useful on your trip.  Check these off your list, and you’re ready to roll.

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If you’ve already visited Belgium, you may have been seduced by the wonders of the capital Brussels, or the UNESCO World Heritage Site beauty of Bruges.  But if you’ve not visited Antwerp before, you’ve got delights aplenty in store here.  Packed with Flemish charm, there are many awesome things to do in Antwerp, in fact more than I can possibly introduce to you here.

Is Antwerp Worth Visiting?

I had to shake my head slightly in disbelief when a well known search engine came up with this question. 

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We’ve all been there.  That moment of excitement when you realise you’re ready for a big trip.  Quickly followed by the babble of questions about how, what, where, when and possibly even why, that can put you into wheelspin.  Thinking how to plan a big trip can be stressful.  I’ve got several decades of trip planning under my belt now.  Let me talk you through how to plan a vacation trip. Grab your travel planning notebook,

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The Lake District really needs no introduction.  As one of the UK’s National Parks, it welcomes 19 million visitors a year.  It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2017.  Covering 912 square miles, it has a cornucopia of lakes, forests and mountains known as fells.  Let us take you to its most stunning places to visit.

You can hear your soul breathe up here.  Although all those millions of visitors can make certain parts of the Lake District very busy at times,

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Time spent on the water is never wasted in my book.  If you’ve ever contemplated more time at sea, I have an alternative to cruise ships or flotilla sailing for you.  Freighter travel – or travel by cargo ship – is a less common way of crossing the oceans.  With most ships having only 6 cabins carrying a maximum of 12 passengers, this is an entirely different way of spending your time at sea.  It’s also an opportunity to visit very different ports of call.

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The stunning area of the Welsh Marches lies where England meets with Wales.  This was historically a land of political turmoil, with power passing between Wales and England across the countryside that makes up the borders.  Today, the Welsh Marches is a place of great beauty, dotted with castles, small picturesque villages, and breathtaking hills to satisfy the most ardent explorer.  Come with us to discover this captivating area in 48 hours.  We’ll bring you history,

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Even though I’ve been happily coupled up for many years, and happily part of a family for years before that, I’ve never lost my joy in traveling alone.  Much as I miss the company of those I love, there’s something about the pleasure and inspiration that comes from hitting the road alone that makes it a wholly different experience.  Here are some of the many benefits I’ve found in traveling solo.

Is Traveling Alone Fun?
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Devon’s a county in the south west of England, unique in having two coasts: the rugged Atlantic to the north and the more sheltered and sandy south coast.  Appledore sits on the estuary of the River Torridge to the north coastline.  With a population of just under 3,000 people, it packs a punch well above its weight in both charm and in things to do in Appledore.  The village has a rich history of shipbuilding and fishing,

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