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?




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. 

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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.

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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. 

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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 –

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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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