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?


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Ghent is a bustling medieval city which beautifully blends its stunning history with an arty, vibrant and fascinating present.  I’ve described Ghent before as the Game of Thrones counterpart to the more delicate courtly love of Bruges.  Also blessed with a spectacular network of canals and ancient streets, Ghent is still less visited than its Flemish sister Bruges.  But the word is out, so come and explore Ghent and see why visitors are increasingly attracted to this lively and splendid city. 

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London is one of the world’s leading tourist destinations, drawing more than 20 million international visitors each year.  Add 300 million more overnight visitors and daytrippers and you can see the enduring attraction of Britain’s capital.  Faced with all the charms of London, deciding what to do can be overwhelming.  So here’s our guide to the best things to see and do to make the most of your time in London.  This 4 day London itinerary takes you through the capital’s greatest hits,

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We’ve written before how to save money for travel by getting your pennies and cents in a line ready for your next adventure.  Now it’s time to turn our attention to how to save money on travel by giving each of those pennies and cents a run for their money.  So here you have the best of what we’ve learned in our 55 years of traveling to squeeze that travel cash as far as possible.

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There’s no doubt about the enduring popularity of Brussels, with more than 16 million of us arriving each year to stay in the city. So once you’ve explored some of what makes Brussels glorious, from the beauties of Grand Place to the art of the chocolate maker and brewer, you might consider exploring further afield. Here are our suggestions for the best day trip destinations accessible from Brussels by rail. We’ve got everything from vibrant cities to coastal charms in this list,

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With more than a million visitors making the trip to the Cotswolds each year, it’s easy to see how charming these towns and villages can be.  Full of honeyed stone cottages clustered in river valleys, the commanding hills or wolds create a rolling landscape.  Broadway is one of the most visited villages in the Cotswolds; in fact you could say that Broadway – known as the Jewel of the Cotswolds – is the epitome of Cotswold charm.

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Quintessentially English in every leaf, lamb, honeyed stone cottage and hill, the Cotswolds nestles between Oxford, Bath, Evesham and Stratford-upon-Avon.  Named after the hills – wolds – that frame this incredibly beautiful area, the Cotswolds receives over a million visitors each year.  And who can blame them?  It’s the kind of place that takes your breath away, even if, like us, you visit regularly.  Here I’m taking you to 21 of the prettiest Cotswold villages and towns we’ve had the pleasure to explore.

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Spring is a time when England’s at its most beautiful.  The trees are bursting back into life, the sun is starting to warm the land, and the countryside is full of blossoms.  Parts of England, such as Kent – the Garden of England – and the Vale of Evesham are full of blossom, hinting at the fruitfulness to come.  The period between April and June is the best time to see the blossoms.  We took the Vale of Evesham Blossom Trail at the start of the season to show you just how beautiful the countryside can be.

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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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