hello october.

by Suzie Bonaldi

She's baaAAAccckkkk! You heard it right, for the next three, yes, THREE full days I am home, with no suitcase in tow and no vlogging camera surgically attached to my hand. Glorious. I don't have any of my Fashion Week content ready to grace your eyes yet, so today I thought I'd just catch you up on where life is at and what's going on. February has been the most incredible month, so much so I can't quite comprehend just how great things are and I'm feeling seriously #blessed. I hate that hashtag more often than not, but seriously it's the most relevant right now.

NEW YORK
My work with TRESemmé on their #WorkIt campaign in the earlier half of this month ended up taking me to New York City to experience NYFW with them and get a feel for their hair looks backstage and in their NYFW pop up. Experiences like this really do blow my mind and I loved the experience. I stepped up to my fear of heights and got one of my all time favourite instagram images at the top of the Empire State Building, visited the Glossier showroom and sat front row at Jenny Packham - how could I forget that one? Most amazingly of all, I was anxiety free for both plane journeys, whilst that might not mean a lot to some people, for me this is a huge deal and I came away from the entire trip beaming with pride and feeling so happy that my CBT sessions over the past six months really have started to pay off. Not only do I feel proud, I feel stronger for it, and I know I can overcome what ever life throws at me if I put my mind to it.

LONDON
A couple of days after setting my feet back on UK soil, my suitcase was packed again, this time for London Fashion Week. I stayed at the Sanderson Hotel (one I would highly recommended and will most likely stay there for over Fashion Week in future), sat front row at Topshop and worked with them on a live stream of the show via my insta stories, I also attended the Muberry and Temperly shows, both of which I adore and it felt like a total dream to see three of my all time favourite shows all in the space of a few hours. I also worked with the Esteé Edit, a brand I LOVE and will be doing a post on soon because I've discovered a few incredible new products from them. It all ended on Tuesday night at the Naked Heart Foundation Fund Fair, which is a jaw dropping-ly gorgeous event for a great cause. It's something I always feel very grateful to have the opportunity to attend as it really is completely magical.

PARIS?
And then we have Paris. I have three days at home before I pack up my things and head off to Paris for something totally magical. I've been invited by one of my favourite brands, and rest assured I'll have my vlogging camera surgically attached to my hand once again! It also won't be my last trip to the gorgeous city this month either...

And there you have it, February in a nut shell. Of course, jet lag from earlier in the month has finally hit me now I'm no longer all "go go go" so I'm looking forward to taking the next few days to regroup and re-evaluate. But I'm feeling so incredibly blessed and grateful for every opportunity this month, I am literally beaming. With taking just a little step back to reflect and look forward, I can already feel my creative brain starting to whirl again as I plan my content for this month. I really do feel like my content is finally coming together right now and this will be the year I create some really fun new videos. So without further ado, I'm going to turn the La La Land soundtrack off, wrap this up, and get on with that. 

Until next time... x








The Valentines Gift Edit.

Valentines Day, love it or hate it, it’s coming. Each year my feelings towards it ebbs and flows, some years it feels like we could all really do without another hallmark holiday, I mean, if you love someone you let them know everyday right? But other years I’m all for it. Yes we should all show our loved ones how special they are all the time, but sometimes it’s nice to have a day dedicated to spending that little bit of extra time with them. I think right now with the state of the world (because who actually enjoys reading their twitter news feed anymore?) a lot more of us are seizing any opportunity to spread a little love. And I’m all for that. 

So whilst the 14th February isn’t all about the gifts (I currently have our living room covered in red heart balloons and roses, with a lovely evening planned upon my return from New York - it can be more about the experience than the act of just giving) I thought I’d put together a few ideas for gifts, just in case you’re thinking of purchasing last minute something for a friend or partner.




BEAUTY
To start off, you can't go wrong with a gift from Lush. They have such a huge range of products to suit a lot of preferences and they don't break the bank too much. Their Lover Lamp bath bomb is one that I'm obsessed with at the moment - seriously, my six piece collection is quickly dwindling and I'll be all out before the month is up - it's not too over powering and is a subtle but luxurious addition to your bath. Then we have the Diptique Rosamundi candle, which lured me in by it's packaging alone, but the Rose scent it carries is utterly gorgeous. If you're looking for a little makeup with a wonderfully romantic feel, Dior have just launched their new shades of the Dior Addict Lip Glow - a line of lip balms with beautifully moisturising finish, a delicious vanilla scent and shades that range from rosy pinks and peach to more deep pink/berry shades. 




For my other half I can't go wrong with picking up a fresh tub of his favourite moisturiser and adding a new fragrance to his collection. The new Jo Malone, Mehr and Tonka is one of those perfectly uni sex fragrance that you could buy for your partner and always end up stealing for yourself. It's a win-win gift either way.

FASHION

When it comes to clothing, this area is a little tricky to navigate. I always go for a super soft sweater from the Reiss Mens section as my gift of choice, but you could also opt for a timeless jacket from Allsaints (budget permitting but Topman have some amazing alternatives too). In the past Vans and a new watch have also never gone unloved.

For me, gifts that I've always loved are timeless or have a little more of an everyday luxury feel. Slogan Sweaters from Whistles are always a winner, whilst my Alex Monroe Bumble Bee and Monica Vinader Rings and Bracelets are so loved too. For something a little less everyday but still so special, the Dior Tribal earrings are a beautiful piece if you want something that feels really indulgent - a modern twist on the classic pearl earring, they can be worn day and night but also styled with different jewellery. I got mind over Christmas and fell head over heels for them. But of course, if you're looking for something incredible, or you just fancy treating yourself come payday, a gorgeous pair of heels, whether from ASOS or Aquazurra, are always a good idea.




OTHER

If your giftee isn't a huge fashion or beauty hoarder, don't worry. Stores like Oliver Bonas have the most gift-able stock on planet earth right now. Their little pink pillows are perfect for someone who likes their interiors to look cozy (with a little fuzzy added in), whilst their crystal book ends are a gorgeous gift for someone who has too many books or is always on the hunt for a unique coffee table ornament. If you want to approach this kind of gift from a more holistic angle, O.B also have a huge selection of books you could wrap up too! They also have a tonne of tiny trinkets, their little cat dish for example is practical, whilst still remaining utterly adorable, and don't even get me started on their Valentines Day cards. If you take anything from this post, it's the recommendation of buying your card from there. They have so many designs from brilliantly funny to super cute and heart felt and I actually ended up purchasing a couple of options depending on my mood come next Tuesday. My personal favourite being one that reads "don't go bacon ma heart" with a little frying pan filled with bacon. Genius. 



Why The Chanel Rouge Allure Ink's Are My NO.1.
Prepare yourself for a lipstick love letter...

The Chanel Rouge Allure Ink's were released back in September and I quickly fell head over heels in love with them, so I thought it about time they had their own spotlight on hello-october.com. Don't you agree?

Let's get one thing settled before we start this review. These are not the dry matte formula you associate with a liquid lipstick. In fact, these have entirely changed my preference when it comes to a liquid lipstick. I no longer reach for those with a matte finish, but those with a velvet feel, and my lips have well and truly thanked me for it.

Despite not being 100% matte, these lipsticks still fall in to the afore mentioned category as they do dry down to a matte looking finish. However the feel is anything but. They're comfortable and don't feel dry at all, and last for a good few hours without the need for a touch up. I say a good few hours because, let's get real, I eat at least every four hours and drink frequently. So naturally most lip products on the market don't get past this wear time with me. And then we have the colour range. Whilst there isn't a vast selection of colours, the eight in the range are all gorgeous and there's a little something for everybody. There are even a few reds which allows us a better chance at finding our perfect rouge tone in the collection. 

My personal favourite shades are the lightest and darkest of the collection, Amoureux (a nude, rosey pink) and Expérimenté (a gorgeous dark red). I wear both on a daily basis and will happily repurchase them once I've used both up. And if Chanel do decide to expand the shade range in the collection I will be first in line at my local counter to purchase. They're that good.

SIDE NOTE: These are limited edition, but you can still get them online and I've seen them on a few counters so they're worth giving a swatch if you spot them!

SHOP.





Barcelona Travel Guide.
Places to eat, sleep and play in Barcelona...

It seems to me that Barcelona is the city that keeps on giving. Two trips down and I feel as though there is so much more still to do and see. Even once I've marked everything off on the recommended list I think I could still happily wander Las Ramblas for hours and hours and not tire of it. Speaking of that "recommended list", today I wanted to share it with you. Though I haven't had the chance to tick every single item on this off (not yet anyway), I thought it might be helpful if you're planning a trip and looking to add a few things to your list.



EAT.

Chök the chocolate kitchen
I discovered this five minutes after buying all the chocolate from the market and en route to grabbing an ice cream. I still bought and ate a chocolate donut with a cake on top. Nuff said.

Amorino Barcelona - La Rambla
This is where I got the rose shaped ice creams! It's not an cutsey independent place, but boy is the ice cream yummy. 

Ciudad Condal (Tapas)
Still dying to go here. 

Milk. (Bar & Bistro)
Flax&Kale
DelaCrem


SLEEP.

I'm a creature of habit when it comes to hotels, as I like familiar places that make me feel at home. So this list isn't the longest...

W Hotel.
I can't resist the W Barcelona. I get the same room on the 21st floor every time and it really feels like home. As someone who can experience severe travel anxiety this is always a welcome detail. The pools at this hotel are also amazing and it's right by the beach. It's not a far walk from the Gothic Quarter and El Bourn but is tucked out of the way on the sea front. The views are incredible though and if you're looking for a relaxed and luxurious vacation this will fit the bill perfectly.

H10 Hotels.
From my research the H10 hotels came so highly recommended, and they're all over the city. My favourite is the one in the Gothic Quarter. As it's close to everything and it has a pool on the roof. You get a bit of everything, however if you're looking for the west side, or even the north if you're going a Gaudí tour, they have you covered. 


PLAY.

W Hotel Bar
Did I mention the W has a bar and the views are incredible? This is available to the public as well as hotel guests and everyone I know recommends cocktails here, even if you're not staying. 

Plaça Reial
I just enjoy mooching around in this cute little square.

Mercado de La Boqueria
This market is incredible. I bought all the chocolate!! 

Sephora on Calle Pelayo
It's insane. One of my favourite Sephoras of all time.

Soho House, Barcelona
If you have membership this is a lovely place to hang out for an afternoon. There are rooms to stay in, a roof top pool and the food is always great.

Also...

Casa Batlló
La Sagrada Família
Plaça de Gaudí
Parc de la Ciutadella



THE OUTFIT.

Barcelona in the autumn is all about dresses and boots during the day (at night, totally different story, cover up!). I was over the moon about this as dresses and boots aren't often the right mix for the UK temperatures. This dress from Glamorous, mixed with my Chloé boots was a mixed print match made in heaven. The heavy florals mixed with the serious studding on the boots shouldn't work at all, but it did and this has to be once of my favourite outfits of last year because of it.

I also wore my Chloe Drew bag (I've turned in to a bit of a Chloe fan girl) and my new Dior Reflected sunglasses. All topped of with a lot of Monica Vinader pieces, as well as my own rings from my line with Mejuri (still obsessed with them - like, I will still want to be buried wearing these when I'm old) and my Olivia Burton watch.

If you want to see my outfit from the previous day in Barcelona, click here and if you want to see the vlog on the full two days we spent in Barcelona then click here.










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

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