hello october.

by Suzie Bonaldi




HELLO 2017,

We're eight days in and it's been radio silence on my side of things. But I wanted to start this year off right. I want to pour my heart in to this space this year, and finally today things just felt right. We're back with a new look and a new outlook on things and I couldn't be more excited. 

So, my new years resolutions are well overdue hmmm? I tried so many times to go over the past year and address the new. But those drafts have been trashed and I'll start with this: Happiness. That is all I want for this year. I truly believe that this is where the fate all of my successes and failures begins and this year that is my driving force behind all my decisions. I spent the past year doing everything I thought I should do, and trying to be everything I thought people wanted me to be. I started to become a watered down version of myself and to be quite honest it sucked. 2016 was a bit of an internal struggle for me and that's why this post has been so long in the making. 

But enough of that. Today I'm saying welcome back to all of you who have stuck with me so patiently whilst I get my shizz together and in the spirit of leaving all my doubts and insecurities in 2016 I'm accompanying this post with the photos I was too scared to post last year. We shot these in Costa Rica, and I originally pulled every image apart and told myself I didn't look good enough in them to post. I look at them now and I LOVE THEM. I'm so proud of how far I've come over the past six months and that I'm finally at a stage where I feel comfortable sharing them. Costa Rica was such a surreal experience, and aside from being just a tad home sick (like spending £50 on calls home kind of home sick) I feel so fortunate that I got to experience such a wonderful adventure with two of my favourite girls.

So aside from my focus on happiness, what do I want from this year? More of a life balance is something I'm striving for this year, as well as being kinder to myself both mentally and physically. I've been on a bit of a journey over the last six months and now I'm more focused than ever on filling my life with things that nourish me and bring me joy. I want to shut out the noise and the buzz that comes hand in hand with having an online space and focus on creating things that I love, and that hopefully you'll love too. I want 2017 to be the year that I choose joy over stress. I want to continue to explore the world, camera in hand, of course. And I want to bring you all along for the ride.

Here's to the next chapter!


Photos by Tamara Kalinic


GOODBYE, 2016.

356 days or so ago, I sat and wrote down my 2015 story. I wrote about the experiences that had changed and shaped me, and I remember feeling excited thinking about the year ahead. The promise of a fresh year that was mine to shape. I promised I would throw myself in to everything head first, do more, and be better. Fast forward a year and I feel like this year has been the length of three years, I've done enough to fill three years, and if I'm being quite frank I'm totally exhausted just thinking about it.

THINGS I'VE LEARNT

That sounds negative, and I hate that. But I touch on it because this year has been so full of life lessons. I learnt that you're not responsible for other peoples feelings (it doesn't give you a green light to be a dick, but it is a reminder you can't make everyone happy), that you should be kinder to yourself - always. I learnt that you need  to listen to your body when it's telling you what it needs, that you can't always do everything and that it is okay to push back and say no. I learnt that it's the opinion of the people on your life team that matters more than the opinion of people who see 10 minutes of you twice a week. I learnt that a year can be both incredible and totally heartbreaking all at the same time. And I learnt that there are some people who will always be there for you and your baggage, and that there are some people who need to take care of their own first, and that that's okay. 

I hate to say it, but Kylie Jenner was so right when she said this was the year of realising stuff.



THIS YEAR I...

Well, where do I even start?!

Went on a post-Christmas holiday with my fave (and our boyfriends)

We hit 300k Subscribers!!!

Stayed in Paris with Givenchy for their S/S16 Press Day - SAY WHUT.

Attended the annual Clarins Global press trip.

Attended London Fashion week and sat front row at some of my favourite shows.

Was a guest of Guerlain at the Naked Heart Foundation Fund Fair (and met Karlie Kloss)

Visited Paris with L'Oreal for Paris Fashion Week

Visited Paris with L'Oreal for their Skin Summit

Was featured in InStyle as their "Power Blogger" (awesomeeee)

Fell in love with Santorini in April 

Worked on a campaign with Guerlain for Terracotta Bronzer whilst in Santorini (note to self, stop working on your personal vacations)

Visited Amsterdam with Viktor & Rolf (+ met V&R themselves!)

Flew to Costa Rica with StyleHaul for four days with Tamara and Fleur

Came home for four days, worked in London for two and then... Flew to Crete with the girls! 

Home for two days and then... travelled to Paris with Alix to shoot my jewellery line imagery.

Whilst in Paris things took a turn for the worse and we had to return home earlier than expected. This is when I first learnt just how much I needed to listen to my body and mind.

A few weeks later I launched my Jewellery line with Mejuri

In July I visited Babington House with Alix to continue her birthday celebrations

I spent the rest of the summer in Brighton and kept my feet firmly on UK soil for a solid three months.

Liz Earl took myself, Alix and Liv to Bestival and covered our faces in Glitter. It was a magical experience and despite the weather I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

I attended London Fashion Week again - Henry Holland and Topshop were my picks for this season!

Before Vlogtober started, Josh and I stayed at Babington House as a pre-birthday treat!

I turned 25. I am now officially in the over's category on X Factor...

I hosted a meet up with Clinique and got two new tattoos and tried out a ballet lesson, all on the same day.

I bought my first grown up car - a mini cooper - and weirdly it's brought me so much more joy than I ever imagined.

We reached 350k subscribers!!!

Josh and I flew to Barcelona for my birthday and to celebrate the end of Vlogtober. It was the first time flying again since June and I was extremely anxious but we got through it and had the best time. And ate ALL THE FOOD. Priorities.

Worked on a pretty big campaign for Liz Earl in November

Hosted a meet up and spoke on a panel at Beautycon London in December.

Josh and I celebrated our TEN YEAR anniversary!

Had a very merry christmas and started to unwind. It felt SO GOOD.


That is a long list...

I definitely worked the hardest I've ever worked this year, and I've never felt more grateful for the support from my family, friends and my work team. I also feel so blessed to have such wonderful readers and viewers who truly make the hard work seem a little less so. Whilst it's been so busy it's also been an incredible year and I feel so grateful for every single day I'm blessed with. Tomorrow we say Hello to 2017 and I'll be back with my thoughts on the year ahead and how the "year of realising stuff" has changed my outlook going forward. Get ready for the resolutions! But in the mean time, have a wonderful New Years eve, however you spend it.

Here's to a happier, healthier 2017.

CHRISTMAS MADE EASY WITH URBAN OUTFITTERS.

It's no surprise that I LOVE Christmas. I just can't get enough. Christmas songs, glasses of mulled cider, gift wrapping, present buying, pre-big day baking, dressing up in my reindeer onesie... It's never too much for me. This year more than ever I've been majorly nesting (don't get too excited there, we're not expanding the family), I think it's a combination of the darker, more dreary days, and the fact that 2016 has been one of the toughest years - both for myself and the majority of people I speak to it seems! I think it's made me more Christmassy than ever, so today I thought I'd talk you through how I prepped my mind, home and spirit for Christmas... Just in case you're in need of a little bit of festive motivation! 


LIGHTING
I've been stock piling fairy lights since November, and even though I think I now have a bit of a lighting overload, I'm still collecting new pieces all the time. Whether it's fairy lights, or little lamps, a warm glow really alters the mood of a room. Everything feels warmer and more snug, and just that little bit more festive. So festive and warm in fact that I plan on keeping these lights around long after Christmas! (well, the ones that aren't reindeer shaped anyway.) The newest addition to our home are the copper star lights from Urban Outfitters. They're just so beautiful and give a lovely soft glow.

PLAN AHEAD
Without realising it, I already have the majority of my Christmas shopping and planning in place for the year, leaving the most time possible for chilling out in the run up to Christmas day. Over the past month I've been heavily scheduling my days in a journal, making sure no detail slips by and no task is left unchecked (aside from the constant "take the rubbish out" line... Never seems to happen. Not sure why.) If you haven't already. Plan your gift giving, ask people if they need anything (no landfill gifts!), plan your food for the Christmas period (because we all know the few shops that are open over that time will have no stock!) and have fun doing it! Reward yourself for getting shizz done, even if just with a hot chocolate at the end of things. You'll feel so much better for being that little bit more organised and will enjoy your Christmas so much more. 

Daily Journal: Urban Outfitters 

COSY UP
There's nothing better for me than feeling super comfy and cosy when the great British weather is going it's thing outside. Snuggly jumpers, countless cushions and a whole lot of Christmas movies are just a few of the things (aside from fairy lights) that make me feel cosy and content. My bed is now 50% pillows and I'm totally okay with that and despite not going for a festive bed spread this year, it feels cosier than ever. My two new pillows can be found here and here and add a cutesy vibe to the whole set up. My new pink jumper is also the most snuggly thing and is great for throwing on over my pyjamas in the evening, or with my daily clothes to run errands. 


GIFT GIVING 
Gift giving at this time of year is one of my favourite things. I love planning gifts for friends and family, however big or small. This year I picked up a lot of things from Urban Outfitters. So when they said they wanted to work with me, it was a perfect match as I'd already purchased so much already! I picked up a few of their Daily Journals, which the organisational friends out there will love, as well as a little kitty makeup bag for my cousin, some cosy socks and slippers for my Mummy, some home pieces including the pink dish below and a little diamond mirror for Josh's sister. Then I have a marble phone case for another friend (who reads this blog so I can't name her!) as well as making a sneaky purchase of the Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 in light pink for the whole family to enjoy come Christmas day! I can't wait to have some cute little memories saved in polaroid form to look back on!

SHOP MY URBAN OUTFITTERS GIFT EDIT





*Post in collaboration with Urban Outfitters!


Well, well, well. This post has been a long time coming. I'd originally wanted this post to come with a map showcasing all the places I ate at/shopped at in Barcelona, but seeing as it's taking longer than expected, I thought you'd be okay with me chatting about my outfit instead!

WHAT TO WEAR: BARCELONA IN NOVEMBER...

I picked up this cute little dress from ASOS a few days before our trip to Barcelona, light and flowy, it was the perfect piece to wear in the autumn sunshine. Despite being away over the first few days of November, the heat was still looming and the risk I took in packing mostly dresses paid off. The red stars on this one gave it that seasonal nod whilst still being light and summery, it's definitely one I see myself wearing over and over for years to come. 

I wore it with my Topshop loafers (not the perfect match but, admittedly, one of the only pairs of shoes I packed) and Dior Reflected Sunglasses. I felt like the warm gold tone of the sunglasses was just perfect for this time of year, so I took the leap and purchased these in Duty Free before we boarded our flight - I swear this is it for sunglasses purchasing for a while now!


SHOP THE POST





Last Sunday I celebrated my 25th birthday, another year has passed and as always I'm forever grateful for every single day and excited to see what each new one has to offer. When I look back over the past year I realise this year has been full of learning curves (in the words of Kylie Jenner - it's the year of "realising stuff"). A few of these life lessons are simple, like don't leave cheese unattended in the back of your fridge for too long (it gets weird) but some are a little bigger and a little more life changing. I've learnt a lot over the past few months. It hasn't always been easy, but it's been an amazing journey, and I feel positive that my 25th year will be one of the best yet.


"Yes the world may throw you some lemons, but life is what you make it and you choose how you respond to every lemon that comes your way"


WORK SMART AND ENJOY YOURSELF
At the start of this year, it would be rare to catch me working from the hours of 9 - 5. My working hours were 8am - 11pm and over the course of six months this really took it's toll until July hit and my body just couldn't keep up with me anymore. It literally shut me down one night whist away shooting the images for my jewellery line, and ever since I've been slowly working at getting back up to speed, but I can guarantee even though I'm back to producing the same level of content and my life is way more organised, that I will never be working those hours again.

I spent most of the year trying to run every single aspect of my business myself, from content to brand negotiations, meetings and accounts. This summer I realised it's okay to accept help, whether it's from your management or letting your organisational goddess of a mother take care of your filing and admin (no joke on that last one - thanks Mims). It's okay to not be able to do everything yourself, and there's nothing wrong in asking for help.

I also spent a lot of time over working myself because I felt guilty for having such an amazing job, and I felt as though I should work more hours because it wasn't fair that I got to have such a great job and still work what ever hours I wanted to. But newsflash, there's no point in having an amazing job if you don't get to enjoy it. Now instead of working longer hours, I'm more efficient. Still producing the same quality and quantity of work, but not at all hours of the day. In addition to weekends now I have a Friday off each month where I spend time with friends and family and I honestly feel like my quality of life is so much better - this is the balance I dreamed of having when I left my last job (but instead things went the other way). Don't get me wrong I'm hardly slacking, but the way I've structured things now is different and a little more similar to the way I worked at my previous job - get as much done as you can in the time you're given, and then switch off and go home. Except I already am home...

DITCH THE "I COULD, SO I SHOULD" ATTITUDE
Something I've struggled with since I entered the working world, lies with being a "yes" person. It's something you're advised to do when you start out as an intern or in your first role, but no one really tells you when to stop. I used to say yes to everything that I could physically manage to cram in to a day (I say used to but this only really stopped last month, even so every couple of weeks I still slip up). This attitude was fairly harmless in previous jobs, as a good manager will always step in when they see you're taking on too much, but when you're riding solo there's no one to speak up (aside from the occasional "don't overwork yourself" comment from your mummy that falls on deaf ears). Over the past nine months I've been offered the most incredible opportunities and it felt mad to turn them down, I was being offered amazing opportunities that I could go on, and therefore I felt that I should. But when you end up being scheduled to touch down in four countries in one month (at one point I went from Crete to London to Paris and back in the space of four days) it all adds up and really takes it's toll on your mind. From now on when I accept new opportunities, it's going to be because I really want to, not because it feels like madness to turn it down. This doesn't just apply to travel but work opportunities and anything that pops up in daily life.

YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR EVERYONE ELSE
Another thing I learnt this year which really has been a lightbulb moment for me, is that I put a lot of responsibility on myself for other peoples feelings. Whether it's my mum and dad worrying about me and I feel guilty, or someone having a bad day or feeling bad about themselves, and I feel a responsibility to make them feel better. Or a viewer who didn't like the content I spend days producing. Lots of these things affected how I felt about myself. It took someone saying to me "You are not responsible for other peoples feelings" and it was the most liberating feeling. The only thing I'm responsible for is how I feel about myself... and taking care of my dog.

THE WORST CASE SCENARIO IS NEVER REALLY THAT BAD
"What's the worse that could happen, Suzie?". When ever I was asked this I would ramble off a long list of worst case scenarios in a panic. But really, is it worth getting that stressed out over? I used to worry about letting people down, or inconveniencing them all the time. But often we put pressure on ourselves to meet deadlines or attend events and think people will be mad if we have can't make it or have to leave early. Like that conference call you're meant to be cramming in this afternoon? Instead of thinking how mad someone will be that you need to reschedule, think about the fact that maybe they haven't had time for lunch, and your postponing might give them that time to go out, eat and get some fresh air. Having to leave an event early? Instead of worrying your ride home might be pissed, maybe they're secretly thrilled because bake off is on and they might have time to catch it. Sometimes things aren't as bad as we make it out to be in our minds.

(But of course, sometimes you're surrounded by people who won't see you cancelling as positive, and I'm not saying suddenly cancel everything and anything because you don't want to get dressed that morning. But if I'm over worked and can't make it to an event and that makes someone angry - it's their choice to to respond negatively, but it doesn't mean you should prioritise their response above your wellbeing.)

YOU DO YOU - STOLP LOOKING AT EVERYONE ELSE
Flashback to four years ago and I generally had a really good sense of tunnel vision, I never really looked to much at what others were doing and just did whatever I felt like. I rarely compared myself and didn't have a clue what a thigh gap was. This year has definitely been one of the hardest in terms of comparisons from all angles. It's the nature of the beast in any part of the media industry really, and I guess it's up to each individual as to how they respond to it. Do you drive yourself mad trying to figure out where you fit, why some people don't like yoy, and listen intently and write down every single piece of data that a boardroom of people recite to you about yourself, your brand and who you are? Or do you pop on your tunnel vision glasses, take it all with a pinch of salt (and imagine it being a piece of salt you can easily wipe away), listen and take it in but ultimately follow your gut and carry on doing you - even if that doesn't always fit with what every one else thinks you should do. You don't have to be perfect, you don't have to be a presenter who is perfect for all ages and you don't always have to be filled with happiness and excitement. Tunnel vision and being content in your own skin is so important in life, but for me when it comes to YouTube, it becomes an essential skill to hone.

I'm going to be honest here, YouTube views are down across the board right now (gamers, beauty, you name it, average views are down for most. It's a change to the algorithm and it's not the end of the world by a long shot. YouTube isn't going anywhere and neither are the loyal loving viewers. But whilst some choose to panic, there are those who see this as a more liberating opportunity to keep creating, striving to create something new and a little bit different (and take "different with a pinch of salt, because, come on - what hasn't already been done on YouTube? It's a tough market), but ultimately something that is very "them". Their tunnel vision is on, they have their feet on the ground and they are choosing how to react to what life has thrown at them.

And that's my bonus sixth and final lesson of the past year really. Yes the world may throw you some lemons, but life is what you make it and you choose how you respond to every lemon that comes your way, no matter how big or small. Your life is your own and your future is whatever you want it to be.

Here's to my 25th year on this bizarre little planet.




WHAT I'M WEARING HERE





Nars Velvet Lip Glide: The New Product That I Can't Leave The House Without. 
(Yes, it is just that good)

When it comes to new lip product launches, chances are you name it I've tried it. More often than not, when it comes to Nars lip launches, it's more a case of you name the launch and I've most likely already tried it about three weeks ago - the Nars team are very very good to me (thanks guys).

When it comes to the new Velvet Lip Glides from Nars, our story goes back to early September. I was perusing the Chichester Space NK when the incredible staff in store gave me the heads up about these (and of course I knew I had to have them - but they weren't out until October!). As if by magic I arrived home and there they were, all perfectly wrapped up, sitting on my coffee table. I get a lot of cool opportunities in my line of work, but HELLO NEW LIP PRODUCTS - this is the stuff my dreams are made of.

As you can imagine, I swatched, I trialled, and it wasn't long until I had two staple colours constantly packed in my bag. They have been everywhere with me, from Fashion Week to date nights. My favourite colours are Stripped (a pinky, nude - of course) and Playpen (a subtle coral with a little more pink than orange). They glide on with the same creamy feel of a traditional lipgloss, but once on your lips they instantly feel different, more velvet-like, but still a little creamy and definitely not matte. Nars describe them as a semi matte hybrid lip colour that combines the fluidity and effortlessness of a gloss with the coverage and comfort of a lipstick. During the winter months our skin can be a little more dry and that makes these perfect for the coming months in my eyes. They're long lasting, highly pigmented and just feel incredible, but come without the glassy sheen of a traditional lipgloss.

In addition to launching a great new product, I'm also really pleased that Nars didn't follow the same old Matte Lipstick trend and released something of the same vein but a little more unique. I love liquid lipsticks but there's only so many more times you can try a matte liquid lipstick and get excited about it. I definitely think we're now seeing a curveball, with more comfortable, creamy matte lipsticks and I'm excited to see which brands really get such a formula right!

The Lip Glides retail for around £22, come in 13 shades and are available to buy now at John Lewis and from the Nars website. They're available nationwide as of October 1st, but I think they're still rolling out to some retailers like Space NK (the Brighton store didn't have them in earlier this week, but check your locals as I know some have had the stock for a while now).

WHERE TO BUY: NARS VELVET LIP GLIDES


We are finally approaching my birthday weekend, and although I'm now so old that this week I actually forgot my age (no joke I got balloons and purchased a 2 and 4 instead of 2 and 5), I'm still really looking forward to it!

I usually forget to write a birthday wish list for my blog and I very rarely do them for the people in my life,  but this year I thought I'd show you a few things I've been coveting recently that I may treat myself to at some point in the next week (obviously not all of them though)!

1. A LITTLE UNIQUE 
This Topshop Unique top is SOOO gorgeous and after seeing it at the show this month I need it in my life! It's pricy but I feel like it's such a special piece that I would get a tonne of wear out of.

2. DREAM BOOTS
The Chloe Susannah boots LITERALLY have my name on them. I've been wanting them for a long time and when I found out the name I knew it was fate. I feel like I would wear them every single day come rain or shine so I feel like they might be worth the splurge.

3. RADIO WAVE
These radios are adorable and In my dream home in my mind I would have a different coloured one in every room of my house. But right now I'd settle for a little one in my living room that I can have playing whilst I beaver away at work.

4. MY FAVOURITE SCENT
Diptique's Vanille is my all time favourite candle, a lot of vanilla mixed with a little wood burning fire. My idea of heaven!

5. POMEGRANET NOIR
Another favourite scent of mine. I originally purchased this a few years ago as a gift for Josh's mum and after realising just how good it made her house smell I was over the moon when she bought one for me in return! It's now running out and I feel like it's about time I repurchased...

6. THE LITTLE BACKPACK
I fall in and out of love with Whistles, I think it's a seasonal thing though because every Autumn I'm obsessed all over again. I just picked up the most gorgeous pink knit from them but this backpack has been on my list for a while and I can't believe I haven't picked it up yet.

 WHAT I WORE: Topshop Unique S/S17 
  Photography by Joseph Galvin

 Topshop Unique will always be one of those "pinch me" moments of LFW. Ever since it started it was always the show I could only dream of going to, so for them to send me a ticket to the show again this season is something I'll never get over. 

As with any occasion I literally spent days thinking about my outfit, and there was even one sleepless night in there too. Initially I was going to wear a Topshop Boutique Dress to the show, but on the day it just didn't feel right (though I'm still mulling over keeping the dress for a separate occasion because I really do like it). Instead I wore my Topshop coat with an old white lace dress, my Topshop boots and choker. I finished it off with my Chanel Boy Bag as per last season, but added a scarf by Sophie Darling to the strap to give it an update on the last time. For Sunglasses I picked the Celine Tilda frames as I'm just so obsessed with them and will be for a very long time. All in all it was very simple, but I think it was the right mixture, as it didn't feel too simple at all. 




 SHOP THE POST








THE SHOW

The vibe for S/S17 followed on from where A/W16 left off. The nod to the 80's that we saw last season was far less of a nod and more HELLO 80's - we heard the 80's before we'd even seen an inch of fabric fly down the runway! There was a lot of black and grey (LOVE), Fuchsia pink (LOVE), bright warm yellow accents (YEP, OKAY IT'S FOR SUMMER - LOVE) and then baby pink (I MEAN, COME ON, YASSSS). The hair was styled in to amazing waves and flipped from one side over to the other, whilst the more sleek locks were slicked straight back in a messy, undone style. Amongst the bright pops of colour and darker pieces, we saw zebra stripes and floral patterns - I never thought I would have seen those coming down the same runway!

Fortunately, this year my excitement didn't dip the moment the show finished, as this is the first Topshop show where you could shop parts of the collection straight from the runway. This change has been big news this year and I'd been wondering exactly how brands would end up implementing it, but I like that only part of the collection has been released now, that way we can all still look forward to wearing these pieces by the time spring rolls around. And yes, of course a purchase has already been made, how could I not?! I've popped the collection below for you to browse through. As for my purchase? I'm sure you'll be seeing it very soon!


SHOP TOPSHOP UNIQUE S/S17




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