The Getaway GIVEAWAY

So if you read yesterday's City Break post and felt inspired to take a trip away yourself then you may well be in need of some stylish bits and pieces to take away with you. Look no further than today's giveaway in which I hope to offer you just what you might need for a great weekend away.

Getaway Giveaway

I'm giving away the perfectly stylish but very practical giveaway set to one lucky reader who chooses to enter today's competition. Worth over £100 and comprising of a beautiful White Holdall from French Connection, a spacious and colourful bloom Makeup/Wash Bag from the very fun Mi-Pac as well as a gorgeous set of mini beauty essentials in a very useful Travel Beauty Kit from the French skincare brand NUXE. Click here to find out what's inside.

French Connection Bag
Makeup Bag
Giveaway Products

To enter is very simple indeed! All you need to do if you would like to win this lovely getaway set is complete one of the two tasks below. Entries will be moderated. If you wish to complete both 1 and 2 then that will count as two entries for consideration. Winners will be contacted via Twitter to arrange delivery of your goodies.

Please Note: I'm afraid entry is open to UK residents only on this occasion.



1. Make sure you are FOLLOWING The What Now Blog on Bloglovin' here. Then leave me a comment below with your Bloglovin' URL so that I can find you as well as your Twitter handle so that I can contact you should you be the lucky winner.


2. Make sure you are FOLLOWING The What Now Blog on Pinterest here. Then leave me a comment below with your Pinterest name and Twitter handle so I can contact you should you be the lucky winner.


Closing date for entries is midnight on Saturday 7th March after which time the winner will be selected totally at random and informed via Twitter. So keep an eye out for a Tweet from me after the closing date.

Wishing you the very best of luck!


THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. The winner has been contacted. Thank you so much to everyone for entering.


Karolin Schnoor It's In The Calendar

With 2015 just around the corner (eek!) it will soon be time to think about planning out the New Year in a bit more detail on the work and life front. Ok so I know most of us are currently running around like crazy things trying to get everything done before our Christmas breaks, cramming in shopping and many other festivities. However somewhere among all that madness why not take a moment to sit back and work out your hopes and plans for the coming year and get a head start on all those plans and resolutions.

With this thought in mind, today I wanted to bring the beautiful designs of Illustrator Karolin Schnoor to the blog as well as share with you some of her unique calendar designs and illustrations that may just inspire your New Year office space and organisation. Plus there's a chance to win one of Karolin's very beautiful 2015 Wall Planners (more on that below).

Photographs: Karolin Schnoor 

Photographs: Karolin Schnoor 

To begin with I'd like to introduce Karolin and let her tell you a little more about what she does. As a freelance Illustrator and Screen Printer, from Germany and working in London, Karolin designs and creates beautiful prints, calendars and stationery. Her designs are sleek and sharp and the quality of the products always extremely high as she chooses to print in small quantities maintaining quality rather than compromise on the high printing standard.

I personally love the boldness of her designs, the colours are striking and the final effect always visually clean and so pleasing to the eye. All of the pieces would make fantastic editions to any smart and stylish office space, offering something unique and individual to inspire you on a daily basis! So let's find out a little more about what makes Karolin tick, how she handles her work-life balance and what inspires her beautiful designs.

You have built a fantastic career as a freelance Illustrator. Is this a difficult career path to get involved in?

I think within most careers there are difficult aspects. Chosing to be an illustrator seemed easy to me because it was what I most enjoyed and had pursued throughout my studies. Actually being one is mostly enjoyable but it also has it's downsides! I think most freelancers experience the frustrations of an unsteady income, periods of intense work followed by quieter days where you get nervous and the strange sensation of not having talked to anyone in days as you hole up to draw. But I like working on my own, the variety of the work I do and the joy it gives me. I'm certainly never bored and that's very valuable to me.

Photographs: Karolin Schnoor

Photographs: Karolin Schnoor

Could you give me a little low down on your business and the passion behind what you do?

I'm a full time illustrator which does not actually mean I illustrate all the time. I do a lot of quick deadline editorial work but also longer ranging projects and I run my own shop so a lot of admin, post office runs and briefing calls make up my days as well as actual drawing.

How do you find being your own boss - what are the challenges, what are the benefits?

I personally really enjoy being my own boss. I like to be as efficient as possible (a German stereotype rings true here) and that's much easier when it's me who decides what gets done when. I do enjoy working on briefs with Art Directors or other types of collaboration so it's not always lonely.

Photographs: Karolin Schnoor

Photographs: Karolin Schnoor

How do you find balance between work and life when your workload gets really busy?

I wish I had my work life balance sorted out. It's quite tricky when your work feels like a big part of your life and sneaks outside of your regular working hours. I think Jessica Hische once said that you can work like crazy in your 20s because you have the stamina. As I approach my 30s I'm trying to rebalance but it's proving tricky. For the sake of my health and sanity I hope I figure it out soon!

What do you like to do in your downtime? For example what would the ideal weekend look like for you?

My ideal weekend looks different depending on what is going on. At the moment I'd love to just hibernate and watch bad TV but occassionally I do enjoy going out and seeing other humans!

Photographs: Karolin Schnoor 

Photographs: Karolin Schnoor 

Huge thanks to Karolin for sharing her thoughts and advice on working in her chosen career field plus her honesty about finding a work-life balance and how tricky this can be, especially when you work for yourself and your job and passion combine. Make sure you check out all of the stunning products in her online Etsy shop for even more inspiration.

I'm also really excited to have the chance to offer the beautiful 2015 Wall Calendar shown above to one lucky reader in a giveaway launching today. To enter please follow the instructions below. It will be open for 10 days in order to try and get this out to the winner in good time for the New Year so be quick if you would like the chance to win!

Just a few T&C's - this giveaway is only open to UK residents on this occasion. Please note that the print does not include the frame as pictured. The print is A2 size and will be safely shipped in a sturdy cardboard tube.

So get your entry in and best of luck! 


Tips For The Tired Commuter

Commuting can be hell a fact most of us know all too well.

Luckily these days my commute consists of taking one flight of stairs in my house (don't hate me) but I've had my fair share of commuter woe and more specifically London transport rage in days gone by. Plus even now I live through the nightmare of cancelled trains, leaves on the line, 25 minute queues to get into the tube station and other regular nightmares via my lovely other half who still has the misfortune of undertaking this painful necessity on a weekly basis.

So with this in mind I've put together a few tips below for those of you still embroiled in the joys of a busy daily commute. Some ideas, advice and a couple of recommendations plus a cheeky little giveaway for you to enter at the end of this post with some treats to ease the pain of your daily trek to and from the office.


Now firstly the good news is that if you commute to work by train then you're likely to be taking an average of 30% more steps a day than someone who drives to work - so thumbs up there on the activity front. Yet still, whether driving or using public transport to make your way to the office the affects on your health can be damaging, adding stress, heightening blood pressure, reducing social interaction and therefore potentially triggering depression and feelings of isolation. Not great hey!

That's why, if you are spending a considerable proportion of your day making your way to and from your place of work and are unable to change that, then it's worth looking at ways to look after your health, increase your happiness and generally try and find a happier way to pass the time and reduce the stress - if at all possible.

One great article, written a while ago but still very relevant, is this one from here. With tips on how to commute the healthy way and great ideas for passing the time it's worth a read to see if there's anything useful that you can implement into your own daily routine.


One of the suggestions that the above article offers is to bring your own entertainment. Now I'm sure a lot of you already take books, music and so on to pass the time but recently I saw an article that suggested going old school with your games! They suggested putting down your phone, getting out the old notebook and pen and leaving the cyber world alone for a while. What a great idea. Feeling really brave? Then why not bust out a game of hangman with the person next to you. You'll either make a new friend or they'll get off at the next stop to avoid you - either way you'll have livened up the day and made it more interesting! 

Sound a bit unlikely? Ok then instead how about getting stuck into a great new read. 

I recently read a review of the book The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins and have added it to my Books I MUST Read! board on Pinterest. The review was by a fellow blogger over at Peak Time Tales a blog with the great tag line 'Every journey tells a tale…' The book sounds like a thriller of a read and I'll have to give it a try even though I don't personally have to while away many hours on a train that often. It's released in January 2015 so is one to watch out for in the New Year.


There's a column in The Telegraph called The Commuter Spy - Our Man On The Train a fun and often informative read. This anonymous column is written by a daily commuter, standing up for fellow commuters everywhere. I particularly love his post entitled Midnight mystery solved investigating why the shelves in train station supermarkets are always so chaotic. Something I can totally relate too!

Which also brings me to another idea - time spent on the train need not be wasted. If you have always fancied giving writing a go, why not use such time to finally put words to paper (or iPad) and see if that next great novel really is hidden within the wearied walls of your commuter brain.


So as mentioned today I've decided to run my first ever blog giveaway with a bundle of treats worth £75 that I've chosen especially to help wash away the daily commuting blues for one lucky reader.

Commuter Giveaway

The goodie bag contains:

Waterstones Kindle Fire HDX Protective Case with stand in Black - to keep your Kindle safe whilst reading your favourite books to and from the office.

Go Stationery A6 Perfect Bound Notebook - perfect for getting your game on and playing that traditional game of hangman! Or just for making notes and to do lists as you wait to get home to action them.

This Works In Transit Balancing Body Lotion 80ml - with the uplifting fragrance of Bergamont and Lime this will certainly boost your tired limbs after the long journey home.

Lanolips Rose Hand Balm Intense 50ml - to soothe cold, chapped hands after waiting around in the cold for your train or bus at the end of a long day.

Caudalie Beauty Elixir 30ml - soothing and refreshing, a quick spritz of this will wake up tired skin after any long delays and keep you looking fresh despite the frazzle of the days commute.

Sanctuary Spa Relax Nourishing Shower Creme 200ml - when you finally get through the door at the end of the day you can unwind with this blend of calming and relaxing essential oils to help wash away the stress.

Vinegar Hill Cashmere and Cocoa Mini Candle - the final piece of the unwinding puzzle. Let this comforting scent relax you as you settle down for the evening and cosy up after a day on your feet working hard.


Phew quite selection if I do say so myself - I'm resisting the urge to try them all out myself as we speak. So what do you have to do to enter?

Well it's very simple. Just click below and follow the instructions to put your details forward for entry. You must be following @TheWhatNowBlog on Twitter to be eligible to win - you will be prompted to do this when entering.

The giveaway starts today and will be open until midnight on Friday 14th of November after which time one lucky winner will be selected at random and contacted by email. 

You don't have to actually be a daily commuter to enter. We all know that working from home, being a full-time parent plus many other occupations can be just as challenging and demand a little pampering now and again!

Oh and before I go let me know what you do to pass the time on your daily journey to work and how to you cope with the stress of it all? Always intrigued to know - especially as I might be able to pass on your handy tips to my long suffering husband. Happy travels and best of luck with your giveaway entry.