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?




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. 

Read More »

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. 

Read More »

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,

Read More »

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.

Read More »

Britain has a long and rich tradition of folklore, passed along the generations.  These are tales of strange places and happenings, including the presence of ghosts and hauntings.  Whether or not you believe in the potential for such things to exist, the tales and their origins are a fascinating part of the country’s history.  So I’m taking you out to explore some of the many myths and legends relating to Britain’s past, scattered far and wide across the British Isles. 

Read More »

In Japan they call it May Sickness: Gigatsu byou.  After the pleasures of Golden Week are over, it’s back to everyday life.  Many of us have experienced those post-vacation blues, whether we’ve been away for weeks, or are returning from a small but perfectly formed weekender.  Stress not.  We’ve got suggestions on how to minimise those post-vacation blues.  And advice on how to put them to good use.

Them Old Post-Vacation Blues

Back to life. 

Read More »

Do you travel for music?  That’s always been something very important when I’ve considered places to visit, and many of my trips have been planned to enjoy the music of a particular location.  Some cities have music that is woven into their culture.  Try to imagine Memphis without the blues or soul, Nashville without country or Liverpool without Merseybeat and Manchester without Madchester.  Here you’ll find destinations in the United Kingdom famous for all kinds of music. 

Read More »

Birmingham, the UK’s second city, may not immediately spring to mind as a destination for the romantic soul.  But there’s more than Spaghetti Junction, a thousand trades and that cheerful friendliness here to put a twinkle in your eye and a spring in your step.  No matter what your wooing style may be, we’ve got plenty of suggestions to make your heart beat faster in Brum.  Want to feel that fuzzy-kneed sensation?  Here’s our choice of ridiculously romantic things to do in Birmingham for couples or couples-to-be.

Read More »

Fed up with hauling around a lot of stuff you don’t really need?  Bashed your ankles, or felt something go ouch in your shoulder when lifting a big bag?  Us too.  But we realised the error of our ways, and now we travel much lighter.  Here’s all we’ve learned about how to pack light for Europe.

Want to pack light on your next trip?  Why not pin this for later!

How To Pack Light For Europe_ Your No-Nonsense Guide

Hints And Tips On Packing Light: Your Bag
Choosing The Right Bag for The Trip

Most of us seeking to pack light will be looking at one of two options: a cabin sized wheeled case or a backpack. 

Read More »

Age is a strange thing.  Many of us reckon that we’re still exactly the same people inside as we get older.  I don’t think that’s true.  Our experiences, both good and bad, make us into a different version of ourselves.  There’s a lot of received wisdom out there that we should travel when we’re young.  I certainly did. But is travel wasted on the young?

Now there are a more visible group of people who hit the road once their domestic and professional responsibilities lessened –

Read More »