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parent shaped us

Hello I’m Penny, I live overlooking the Peak District with my video game developing husband, two children (b.2006 and 2008) and a retired greyhound.  I’m a passionate family lifestyle and travel writer, blogger and video maker.  For me nothing beats getting outdoors, exploring nature and having adventures.

I’ve been blogging since 2010 here, and on another site which I sold to an online retailer.  Selling a blog is up there with some of my biggest blogging adventures, including going to Africa with Davina, David Walliams and Jonathan Ross, climbing Snowdon, being Carnival Cruise Lines’ funnest family and overcoming my fear of deep water.

Parentshaped has had several posts go viral including this one and this one. It was recently awarded Best Family Travel Blog Runner Up at the Family Traveller Awards, a massive honour which made me realise travel blogging was my thing. I do find it hard to stick just to travel here though, I like to see travel as part of a life well lived.

You can also find me talking family travel, with Alison, Katie and Helen on family travel inspiration site Space in Your Case. I am also one of the founding members of Team Honk, and with Annie and Tanya have blogged with Comic Relief from Ghana, Tanzania and Kenya and raised lots of fun and over £80,000 with the incredible blogging community. I’m a trained travel writer and write for other sites too, you can find out more about that here.

As a family we had one to many holidays we didn’t want to come home from, particularly this one, so we moved from suburban Nottingham to the Peak District in May 2017. Here’s the story of how we first discovered the house we now live in.

Last but never least, I lost my mother to brain cancer in 2010, my blog has always been my mental filing cabinet and my place to share the little legacies of my family history.

Thanks for stopping by



My family and other animals


Penny – Me. I always wanted to be a writer (or a teacher). I taught for 7 years, teaching Drama and as Head of Media and Film Studies in a secondary school. I left while pregnant with my first child. I did a diploma in creative writing from the OU and started a blog.  My blogs, and the work around them are my job now. I’m vegetarian and I’m happiest outdoors.


Mr A – Runs his own video games company.  Off the scale ‘P’ in Myers Briggs personality test talk, very spontaneous and flexible.  I used to be off the scale the other way ‘J’, a planner and organiser who likes things settled but I’ve joined team spontaneous.  Go Team Alexander, wherever that takes us (I’ve got the snacks, the map, the suncream…)

So very at home in Harry Potter World @universalorlando #universalmoments

Miss L – My firstborn, headstrong, determined and ten. Crazy blonde curly hair which she didn’t get from me. Freckles which she did. Loves blue, baking, art and nature.

Camp Bestival - 1

Mr G – A very imaginative, impulsive eight year old who isn’t fazed by much, loves Lego, Pokemon, Minecraft and collecting treasure, was almost certainly a pirate in a previous life. Loves the outdoors, science and history.


Max – the greyhound we adopted from Lincolnshire Greyhound Trust. Tall, dark, handsome, loyal. Loves walks, sleeping and soft toys.




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